Reversing the trend on social media: We are retreating into the private sphere
– We retreat into the private sphere
The time for great self-revelation has come to an end on Instagram and Co. Now comes the retreat into private life – and it is well underway.
One of the many unwritten rules on the Internet is 90-9-1. It says that on most online platforms, 90 percent of users never actively talk, 9 percent contribute a few pieces of content, and the final one percent is responsible for almost all activity.
Over time, a separate term emerged for this large silent majority: lurking, as cyberneticians call this behavior. Another aggravation of colloquialism, then you have to do with leeches. Anyone who does not contribute has the same leech status.
The rather sharp terminology refers to the zeitgeist of the past years and decades. It seems unheard of for a long time for him not to say anything, not to post anything, or not to reveal himself.
“People who only watch you”
So it is no wonder that seminars and academic studies are now devoted to the psychology of interns. What moves them? what do you think? And last but not least: What added value do they provide?
Meanwhile, Tiktok influencers are already complaining about so-called ghost watchers. These are “the people who watch your every move, monitor everything you do, but don’t support any of it,” one user complained. “People are just watching you, and it’s disgusting.”
Now you may find it strange how many people find normal crowd behavior strange. Perhaps even the supposed stars of the Internet are now tired of being “noticed.”
Although everyone was gathered in the same place, they were increasingly dispersed.
So, as more and more people face the consequences of constant sharing, social media is changing. Away from social media and towards the media. It is now nothing more than a collection of entertainment platforms on which users consume content but rarely create their own.
The actual use case is becoming more and more like a TV station and less like a network of equal actors. The most successful apps in recent years have always prioritized algorithmically controlled discovery of new content, neglecting direct contact with users. Although everyone was gathered in the same place, they were increasingly dispersed.
Now the logical counter-movement is to retreat into the private sphere – and this is well underway. Platforms like Instagram are seeing the biggest growth in direct messaging, i.e. direct user-to-user messaging, or closed chat groups. New apps like Geneva’s – by its own self-description “more private than Facebook and funnier than Slack” – are intended exclusively for such small communities, and thus underscore the shift.
Steps to a healthier digital life?
Lurker, who was just a weirdo, became the new default character. So, was the first wave of social media a collective mistake? After a decade of exposing our most intimate moments in public, people are becoming more selective in their communities and reverting to old-fashioned – or rather more normal? – Reaction type again.
The exchange becomes more authentic, and the audience is smaller. It is difficult to say how this change will affect our online presence in the long term. Will there be a new super app that brings together all areas? Will we soon be living healthier digital lives? Or will they just be more attractively closed off echo chambers?