Criticism of Hash/tags

So I've come to this sudden thought. It's probably obvious, but it's not just Tumblr that creates strife through a misdesigned system. I'm specifically nodding towards Twitter's current "gamer" bickering, but I'm sure this is more general.

Specifically, it seems that things along the lines of tags exist in the minds of users to "belong" to something. People interact because they want to find relevance with other people. Tags aren't designed like that in the minds of the system designers though - they're marketing and branding tools. They're not fit for helping connect people because they don't work the same way people would interact in person.

Initially I thought, Is there something wrong with the internet? Do we need to educate people about using the internet, because humans can't cope with behaving nicely with those they can't see? That's silly, we don't educate people about manners in writing letters or talking on the phone - it's much more general manners that are taught.

The issue isn't that people are using the internet wrong, but that they're encouraged to do things they otherwise wouldn't. It's grown into this ego-stroking machine that is counter to the way interaction has evolved in society. Metadata and numbers and all manner of things are ambiguous indicators of some sort of "difference" you're making in the world. In reality, it means nothing. The only thing that should matter is the intention and interaction between people, but it gets lost in the noise.

This isn't invalidating some of the problems I'm seeing with gaming, it's more about this "activism" that's turning up in response to criticism. The activism isn't necessary. The way the internet is now, it's subtly pushing them to create their own counter-brand instead of considering why they received such criticism...

Thursday, 4th September 02014

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