Recently read a tweet pondering that maybe most software we've built could just be a “temporary apparition,” instead of needing to be long-lived societal infrastructure. I find that idea incredibly freeing, and the clearest lens to see the tech world through right now, as someone building it.
What if we took social media a little less seriously — even the “better” solutions like the #fediverse? What if we didn't worry about “changing the world” with some new startup idea, and instead improved life for a few people? What if we just made cool shit online that could help pay our bills and then we do something new when that gets old? What if we forgot the 1990s-2020s delusion that the information superhighway was going to elevate humanity to some brand new plane above our own humanity?
I think we'd arrive at viewing the internet mostly as a fun, silly little thing we use sometimes — and that, like TV, it is useful but only ever parasocial. That it can never replace a meal with friends and family, a real-life community, making love, a face-to-face conversation, or hearing the birds outside your window. Maybe we could continue building cool digital things without all the pressures of being the best, conquering the world, getting it absolutely perfect for everyone, everywhere in the world.