On the power of global digital behavior

Technologies are not the devices. They are the practices of their usage. In data capitalism also the devices are consumed, but what matters (well yes, it matters ultimately, measurable in carbon dioxide parts per million) is the consumption of information, which is mediated by the devices. Therefore obsolescence of information is in the interest of the corporations who operate the internet platforms. It's not possible to consume media (they are not reduced by using them), but it's possible to consume information.

The urge to use the platform media relies essentially on positive, not on negative conditioning. It is not the fear to miss out, that keeps us using them, but rather the frequent and momentary rewards we are given while using them. Therefore the platforms rely on positive conditioning, which is not only just how it works, but also more effective than negative conditioning from a utilitarian psychological point of view.

The so called "always on" or "permanently online" is not a continuous behaviour. It is an intermittent one. The media usage tasks are not only multitasked in parallel with each other. They are also multitasked with other behaviours like sitting in a bus, eating and resting. In the capitalist society we don't have to care anymore for direct activities of survival. That is also true for workers who have to care a lot just to survive. What we indeed mainly have to care for in the capitalist society is to maintain the condition in which we don't have to care for formerly primary activities anymore.

The slogan of facebook "connect with friends and the world around you" is a lie. Another slogan by a random small company called ShareThis is more honest in this respect: "unlocking the power of global digital behavior". The first slogan, the lie, is directed to the people, us, from whom the platform corporations glean the data they make profit with. The second slogan instead serves the companies who want to collect some of the crumbs left over by the platform corporations and struggle to join in the endeavour to make profit with our data.

The right strategy then would not be to try to take away the fear of users to cease from using platform media (a fear they don't have), but instead let them, us, experience that sitting in a bus, eating and resting are not (only) means, but satisfying experiences in themselves — and, of course, to smash the oligopolies. The power of global digital behaviour is ours. Let's use it.