Social media and the power of attention
We live in the era of the Digital Revolution, where the methods of communication between people have changed beyond recognition. Within only 20 years, digital technologies have completely transformed social systems and communications. They have formed other models of behaviour, provided us with new opportunities, made us geographically independent, and given us access to the ocean of information that humanity has accumulated.
There are no longer any borders; nowadays, people can live in Germany and study or work in Britain or France. Through social networks, we can build global communities, meet and co-operate with people living on other continents. At the same time, we can influence social processes. Social networks have become an integral part of our life.
Increasing the speed of communication allows us to solve tasks that would take weeks or months, which is undoubtedly one of the advantages of the digital environment. Benefits include the ability to call a taxi, order food from home, pay instantly for selected products, book flights, and so on. However, the digital environment has its "dark side" that even representatives of Silicon Valley talk openly about today. And they don’t just talk; they warn about the negative influences of social platforms, which are becoming an existential threat. Fake news, cyberbullying, like-addiction, manipulation of users' psychology, and modelling their behaviour, propaganda, reduced cognitive abilities, and heightened depressive moods are just some of the "symptoms" diagnosed.
The study of the anthropological aspects of digital technologies and the mutual influence of the digital and physical environment (particularly people's behaviour
in the network) is currently the subject of a "young" but highly promising field of research - digital anthropology. This study is essential in the era of algorithmisation, which challenges the ontological status of a person. There is no doubt that cardinal changes have taken place in the very existential structure of a person in the era of algorithms, and these changes are permanent, i.e. a "living process".
As technologies become part of our lives, they have a gradual but irreversible impact on our way of thinking, behaviour, and the formation of our vision of the world. The topic of world vision should be considered separately, however. A lot of people today, especially Generation Z, have lost the ability to concentrate on reading voluminous texts (and this is also a subject explored by digital anthropology). Reading a 300-page book or a 5-page article is just as difficult a task for many people. Texts are no longer read; they are just scanned. Someone with wandering attention, clip thinking, lack of concentration, and a fragmentary perception of information does not form an integral model of world vision.
They surf the web, cursorily glance at the feed of updates on social networks, or make some kind of inarticulate request, and then drown in new pieces of information they are incapable of integrating into their (absent or incipient) worldview. Research organisation, Nielsen Norman Group, has found that, when people view a web page, they scan it in the form of the Latin letter F. Consequently, they read no more than 20 per cent of the text. Disappointing conclusions, don’t you think?
Developing a global vision is a long and complex process. We often meet people who have no worldview. At best, they have a set of opinions of some sort (in most cases, not their own, i.e., not "acquired" or tested in practice), and fragmentary knowledge, on the basis of which they draw conclusions and make decisions - typically imposed by social media.
No worldview means no internal axis, no centre, no point of reference around which the world is distinctly perceived. People "just live", oblivious to the values, views, desires imposed on them.
Their inability to cope with the massive flow of information that today threatens to wipe any truth from the face of the earth dooms them to a seizure of chaos, to omnivorousness. From this inexhaustible stream, they are incapable of selecting the things that matter, they are unable to distinguish between what is important and what is secondary, what is full of meaning and what is complete nonsense. If they had a worldview, a specific system of coordinates, access to bookshelves or a series of links and headlines in their news feed, they would instantly make the right decision: to "take" or to "weed out". To build your worldview, you need to be a good architect. And for that, you need to stop being a user.
A new model of social behaviour
Popular social networks, where a modern-day person spends more and more of his time, do not in the least help him to make the right "architectural decisions" since their main task is to grab the user's attention and then sell it to advertisers. Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff draws a historical parallel with English society in the 19th century. The aristocrats came up with only one name for anyone who was different from them - "the lower classes." Any person who was not an aristocrat was cast into this vast anonymous category. "Just like users," Zuboff states. For the creators of social networks, we are no more than users.
But the question arises: who uses whom, and who does the benefit actually belong to? We certainly share some of the total benefit, but if we turn it into a financial equivalent, then we find that 99 per cent of the benefit belongs to 1 per cent of the founders of social platforms. We - users - get only 1 per cent of the benefit. On the Gaiia platform, 100 per cent of the benefit belongs to 100 per centof its members. The "beehive" principle works here: the more participants, the more honey, and honey is the exclusive property of the participants themselves. Thus, they become a global force. An understanding of the algorithms of global platforms shapes the social media consciousness of users. It is interesting that, if the users of one of the world's social networks were to strike and leave the network for just five days, its shares would collapse instantly.
The social behaviour of the majority of people in the modern world is consumer behaviour, as it reflects the values dictated by the "morals" of the market. The time has come when the "consumer", the "user" must give way to the "producer", the creator.
We will use open collective capital and emerging technologies to create the kind of social behaviour that changes society's global economic and financial model. For this, we have created the Gaiia Foundation and the Gaiia Communication Platform (GCP), which will generate an open collective capital capable of serving all those who shape it.
The Gaiia Communication Platform (GCP). What makes us different?
Social platforms currently provide users with a large number of tools to implement a wide variety of ideas: people can organise themselves online, create communities, raise waves of protests, and initiate crowdfunding campaigns. However, not a single user actively involved in the life of a particular platform has a share in its economic value. The algorithms that control these platforms are still opaque and hidden from the user. This means that platforms do not trust their users. Let's ask ourselves the question: in such case, should users trust platforms?
On the Gaiia communication platform there won’t be any users. Anyone who joins the platform becomes, not a user, but a participant or a beneficiary of the platform. Gaiia's algorithms will transform time, content and communications into data capital that is transparent and accessible to all beneficiaries. The actions of participants that form a culture of social behaviour, as well as exciting and innovative ideas, will be quoted. All of this will inspire participants to form a fundamentally new vision of what it means to be successful
How does communication become capital? In the process of communication among individuals, a collective resource is generated, called "social media capital". All actions - from likes to comments - serve to create this capital. On the Gaiia platform, this capital is calculated on the basis of active time spent online. In other words, the activity of participants is converted into capital.
Since Gaiia is not a commercial project, this capital has the distinctive feature that it will not belong to specific individuals, and will not have a narrow circle of ultimate beneficiaries. The project’s added value and capitalisation will not be distributed as dividends or capital to the owners. It will remain within the system and be used as "collateral" for the internal currency, the G-coin. Most of the internal currency issue will be backed by real gold, which will be purchased physically for this purpose.
Each participant can do different things with the content: generate, react, distribute, comment, and thus give and receive gratitude in the form of open collective capital. Any action of a participant in the network has a direct economic effect on the system. Like, share, post, comment - these all are economic micro-transactions made in complete transparency. The Gaiia communication platform will provide unlimited Internet and telephone access for all network participants.
Against surveillance capitalism
Our devices know more about us than we do: sensors on our smartwatches read data about our health, our smartphone is aware of our movements, our daily routine, consumer preferences, financial transactions, and so on. They know who we communicate with, and what about. We leave numerous fingerprints every day. Unfortunately, this information is frequently used for personal gain. We are transparent to corporations, but corporations are not transparent to us. There is no principle of data symmetry.
Digital giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon collect Big Data, which they use as an effective tool to predict user behaviour, and also to moderate it. Jaron Lanier, a philosopher and co-creator of virtual reality technology, refers to social media as "behaviour modification empires”. Shoshana Zuboff, mentioned previously, speaks plainly about the economic system as a form of "supervisory capitalism”, which is based on technologies for collecting, processing and selling personal data. This means that our data belongs to the so-called supervisory capitalism, and there can be no doubt that data is now one of the main resources of the modern market economy; it represents contemporary capital.
By using GCP algorithms, we are proposing to give this resource to its true owners, that is, to us - the people who invest their time, intellect and emotions to form this capital.
What kind of capitalisation does any social network have without active users? The online presence of users and their network activity form the capitalisation of the network they belong to. People generate hundreds of billion dollars every year. If these billions remained at the disposal of those who produce them, this capital would be sufficient to solve those global problems that contemporary politicians are powerless to address. It would also be enough to serve any social initiatives, as well as collective or individual projects that have been endorsed by a new elite established on the principles of transparency, using GCP algorithms. This capital can, as a minimum, provide users with free communication, modern devices and computers - simply as a reward for participating in its formation. Furthermore, it will play a key role in improving the financial self-esteem of participants in the system.
Share More Get More
Active users still make money, and the more they engage with other users, the more currency they generate. The Gaiia platform will function according to the Share More Get More principle. The system creates capital that can help each participant to achieve their goals. Open collective capital can provide funding for any open source projects within the system.
An open project is any economically viable project submitted for funding that receives a participant rating automatically converted into a project budget.
Popularity rating and reputation rating
Bloggers and influencers are far more influential these days than political leaders and the media. Moreover, they have surpassed politicians and the media in trust ratings. Netizens increasingly make decisions based on the position of the most trusted bloggers and influencers. However, this trust is often built on empty popularity and hype, and completely ignores a particular person's reputation.
On the Gaiia platform, each participant will have two ratings: a popularity rating and a reputation rating, which affect their opportunities in real life: raising money, influencing processes in society, and so on. It will be fairer than a credit of trust issued on the basis of a (frequently boosted) rating.
How economically conscious are we? When we say the words "currency", "money", "capital", do we understand what is behind them? There is a big difference between currency and money. Currency is an empty container, and each of us, trusting it unconditionally, fills it with the value that we call money. There is a rate between money and currency (called "inflation"). People's lack of knowledge about how this rate is formed allows it to be manipulated by those behind the issuing of the currency. In this way, some become rich at the expense of others.
What’s needed is a new capital, which is not restricted to anyone.
The core of the Gaiia Communication Platform project is the currency system.
The platform will issue currency secured 100% by physical gold - the G Coin. The G Coin is linked to the global gold rate. Every token created on the platform has a G Coin equivalent. For example, 1 G Coin = 100 tokens. There is also a unique charity token called a "Golden Hard" on the platform - this is a superlike equal to a 0.5 G Coin.
The main feature of this currency system will be the easy execution of micro-transactions. A transaction of 1 cent or less can be made with a single click. The system will also be open and transparent. All transactions within the system will be publicly available by default. It is one of the elements that will influence the reputation of the project participant.
Every member of the system will issue his own "coins" or tokens, which are secured by his obligations as an individual or business.
A new economy
The innovative Gaiia Communication Platform gives us an opportunity to form a new virtual state, and hence a new political and intellectual elite with different moral values. By coming together around one idea, we will challenge the modern market system, and create a completely open financial model that will drive an entirely new economy.