Black Mirror, Meme Markets & Moloch.
I just watched Black Mirror s03e01… and so much of it resonated with me. I won’t spoil much, but its core premise is that if we extrapolate onwards from the way social media works, it will lead to this world where everything that we do eventually gets assigned to one global rating.
There’s several reasons why this just totally confused me.
- I’m working on a concept called Meme Markets. A preliminary post on this concept is called Hashtag Markets. One of the goals of this system is to potentially rank all memes, and since people *are* memes themselves, you could rank people. Here’s a snippet from the document that would look familiar:
- Scenes were shot in Cape Town. I’ve walked in places in the episode where I’ve literally thought about *these* ideas.
- I’ve recently gone through a breakup with someone I deeply fell in love with. As is usually the case with these kind of events, we unwittingly go to social media to not only convince others, but ourselves as well, that we are okay. We look to gather experiences to share on social media that moves us towards the worldview we want (ps: I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad coping mechanism). My curiosity usually prevents from me being able to cut people off. She blocked me eventually on many platforms (for various reasons). I dislike it, but also thankful she did.
- One of the scenes in the episode is about a wedding and the importance of the social impact of the wedding. Like a HUGE cliche, I’ve been waiting for photos from my brother’s wedding (where I gave an epic best man speech) to plaster over social media. Sometimes it’s all so predictable… and then you just want to laugh.
- I’ve started using a dating app called Happn. It shows people you’ve crossed paths with. You can then mutually connect if you “liked” each other. I love the serendipity of it.
What a strange coincidence of an episode. I’m particularly tuned to the effects these platforms have on our lives (I even dedicated my masters to researching parts of this). I remain an optimist, but this episode gives a great glimpse of potential negative side effects. What they don’t show, for example, is that by simply being creative, one can attain a higher ranking in society.
In some ways, the world that they depict feel like an inevitability: as if the memes themselves that gain leverage are just feeding off our lack of control of our feedback loops. We are symbiotic with memes themselves. The humans that procreate are the ones that make the memes survive that allow us to procreate (META). For example: if Tinder puts people together that happen to select for Tinder, then if Tinder remains around long enough, then Tinder itself “bred” humans
And then you do sometimes want to scream and raise one’s fist in anger at Moloch. Fuck. That. Noise. I’m going to have some whiskey before it all consumes us. ;)