If you are over the age of 25, you may remember a time when social media wasn't so prevalent in society. Yes, most of us were online but it was mainly through AOL and we relied heavily on our imagination to make things come to life.
If you were fancy, you uploaded a photo of yourself via an external scanner purchased at Best Buy (or Circuit City, depending on who had the best sale from the Sunday paper) through e-mail to faceless personalities you “met” in chatrooms with the hopes of them returning photos of themselves.
Ah, the chatrooms. A sea full of colorful words and endless imaginative possibilities, where emojis were created by keyboard character manipulation and repetition.
Fast forward to now.
AOL is still around but the mystery once created behind an internet persona is long gone. Where it was once normal to keep your “internet life” private from your “real one”, the two are now infused and it’s all about the selfies, check-ins and geo tags.
But it’s all fun and games right? I mean, who cares how you conduct your life via social media? Who cares if you purposefully troll people you don’t like, stalk exes or claim blatant lies about your accomplishments? None of this is hurting anyone… right?
Say hello to social crediting, a newly developed system that rates people based off of their social engagements. If you haven’t seen the episode of Black mirror that shows social crediting, I highly recommend doing so as it breaks down the overview in a nutshell. But in case you haven’t, allow me to briefly explain.
Social crediting, which is already taking place in China will dictate if you are able to rent an apartment, get approved for a loan, take public transportation, shop in certain areas, etc. Basically it’s the way that the regular credit system works but it’s dictated by those around you. Your positive or negative status is calculated by how the people you engage with grade you.
Now, this may or may not be a good thing. For those who struggle with not-so-yummy credit scores, this could be an amazing way to elevate your life. However, for those who struggle with mood swings, chronic ghosting or just overall shitty behavior, things won’t be so great. In fact, it may cause an epidemic of isolation as more people will choose to shy away from the anti-social who may give low scores just for the fuck of it. Plus your own score will be impacted simply by engaging with someone who has a significantly lower score than you.
Family holidays are about to be real dry.
Like it or not, this new way of life is coming. In some sense, it’s already here. Think about the people, so far who have lost their jobs because of things posted online. Regardless of the reason, it’s quite frightening to think that other people will have this much control over your individual life.
So, in response to Drake’s hit song, “Nice for what?...”
These bills, n*gga. These bills!