“It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else … this is the hard way to do it and we did it.”  
Giannis Antetokounmpo 

A huge part of the larger discourse of late has been the rise of social media, and the influence it has on the populace. There is no shortage of analysis and/or hot takes on the massive scale of Facebook (or the calls to #DeleteFacebook), the often arbitrary moderation of Twitter, and whateverthehell Parler was.

The latter was effectively erased from existence, but not before a lot of people made sure we all knew they thought their freedom of speech was being infringed on.

And of course, since nature abhors a vacuum, now we have Gettr. So that’s fun.

We also have Facebook back in the news again (do they ever really leave?), after President Biden was quoted as saying “they’re killing people.”

Are they? Maybe, maybe not. Obviously, no one from Menlo Park is pulling a literal trigger, but it’s hard to ignore the platform’s reach, and how well it works as an accelerator for misinformation. One can fairly easily draw a line between bad info on social media, resistance to receiving vaccines, and an increase in COVID-related deaths. 

And when just 12 people are responsible for the majority of bad info? That’s a very real problem we need to (collectively) address.

Regardless of where you stand on Facebook (or Parler’s extinction), I hope we can all agree on 2 truths:

1. Civics needs to make a return to our school’s curriculum, post haste. Critical Thinking too.

2. For all intents and purposes, social media IStoday’s Town Square. It’s where we go to share ideas, get on our (cyber) soapbox, and debate. The discourse isn’t happening down the street- it’s on your screen.

The First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies, and everyone has to consent to a platform’s Terms of Service as a condition of participation. The easy answer here is to point to that, and say “if you don’t like it, leave.” I know, I’ve done it. But maybe the better solution is to model Terms of Service after the First Amendment.

It’s pretty clear that online is where people are now assembling, and as broad as it is, 1A still has defined guardrails. I don’t think you could legislate (read: force) companies to do this, but it’s certainly a model worth looking into going forward, even if it’s hard—especially if it means saving lives. 

Don’t @ me*.

*Actually, you should totally @ me! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

5 Things I’m Into This Week #12

406 days.

A little over 13 months after I tore my knee up, I finally stepped back onto the same soccer field. It’s weird to finally do something you’ve spent so much time & energy working toward.

I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little apprehensive on the drive over. The truth is there are 7 exits between my house and the field, and I thought about taking every one of them.

But I’d made it this far, and decided to push through — and I’m glad I did. The game was good (spoiler alert: I’m still a terrible player), but seeing everyone again was amazing. It’s easy to forget how important community can be in one’s life.

Maybe that’s the bigger lesson here? I had a whole story written about perseverance and sticking to one’s goals. At the end of the day, the bigger reward was the sheer joy of seeing my friends again.

On to the good stuff:

1. Scott Galloway made a compelling case for Twitter switching to a (tiered) subscription model. I have to say I agree with him. I think it would go a long way toward making the platform a more engaging — and pleasant — place to be.

2. Ear candy: My playlist for this week.

3. The overarching narrative has been that America narrowly averted disaster on January 6th and that our Republic is somehow infallible. This excellent piece by John Ellis deconstructs that and walks us through the much more alarming “truth” that also exists.

4. Former Montreal Canadien Ken Dryden on how goalies are changing hockey — and not necessarily for the better.

5. What a time to be alive!

What milestones did you hit this week? What grabbed your attention? Let me know in the comments!