October 25-Nov. 30
Imagine yourself in a near future where waning resources mean social media platforms are shutting down one by one. The last app – where all your friends are – has just made the dreaded announcement: you have only have a few posts left before your account will terminate. Some friends you might visit, some are too far. What do you want to do together, what do you need to say, as the chances to communicate dwindle?
But there is hope. For, though you only have so many posts, you can reply as much as you want. The future of communication will not be in the individual posts, but in conversations, connections, community.
Welcome to Dwindle, a netprov built on the platform of Ben Grosser’s finite social media platform Minus, which satirizes the ever-expanding appetites of contemporary social media, by imagining its opposite. In this netprov we wonder, if people only had a limited number of posts to make, would they say what they really mean?
Minus by ben Grosser
Minus is a finite social network where you get 100 posts -- for life.
About Minus: https://bengrosser.com/projects/minus/
Register for an account here. https://minus.social/
You only have 100 posts, but you have an infinite number of replies.
How to Play:
Dwindle down your account to 0
(Use the #dwindle hashtag so people know you’re playing.)
Teacher materials also available.
Background Minus: by Ben Grosser
Despite their lofty mission statements, today’s big social media platforms are centrally focused on one singular concept: more. These capitalistic software machines are designed to stoke a pervasive and ever-increasing cycle of production and consumption for the purposes of growth and profit. To accomplish this they leverage data and scale to produce signals and interface patterns that keep us engaged, promising connection and joy in exchange for increasing shares of our time and attention. The platforms embed within us the idea that our own sociality is best evaluated and understood through quantity. They reconfigure our sense of time in ways that can make minutes or hours ago seem old. And their personalized feeds teach our brains that the only content worth watching or reading is that which we can already imagine. In its tireless pursuit of users and data and wealth, big social media sacrifices human agency and potential on the altar of more.
But what if social media wasn’t engineered to serve capitalism’s need for growth? How might online collective communication be different if our time and attention were treated as the limited and precious resources that they are? Minus is an experiment to ask these questions, a finite social network where users get only 100 posts—for life. Rather than the algorithmic feeds, visible “like” counts, noisy notifications, and infinite scrolls employed by the platforms to induce endless user engagement, Minus limits how much one posts to the feed, and foregrounds—as its only visible and dwindling metric—how few opportunities they have left. Instead of preying on our needs for communication and connection in order to transform them into desires for speed and accumulation, Minus offers an opportunity to reimagine what it means to be connected in the contemporary age. The work facilitates conversation within a subtractive frame that eschews the noise and frenzy for a quieter and slower setting that foregrounds human voices, words, and temporalities. Though it may be disorienting at first to navigate an online social space devoid of the signals and patterns Silicon Valley uses to always push for more, Minus invites us to see what digital interaction feels like when a social media platform is designed for less.