Manifesting a Feminist Internet...
What's on your 2022 vision board?
2021 was a pivotal year in the conversation about the accountability and responsibility of powerful social networks. Misconceptions about COVID-19 spread like wildfire across the internet. The impact of misinformation across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, and Twitter (among other platforms) shook our political systems loose. And reports of Instagram's toxic effect on teen girls' mental health went viral, which I had a lot of thoughts on.
On top of all of this, the reports of harassment and abuse against women online continued to skyrocket throughout the year, despite many protestations and despite many still not understanding why there's a dire need for alternate platforms that don't do it all.
Overwhelmingly, as I compile my end-of-year thoughts, I can't help but feel tricked, as a user, by the notion that social platforms are actually "social" places. At their best, big social platforms feed our addiction to small dopamine hits and a vague feeling that we're all constantly connected. At their worst, these platforms incite real violence in the real world. For me, social media mostly feels empty and unsatisfying, leaving me with the lingering feeling that what I do on, say, Instagram, is either performing, consuming, or sometimes stalking but never socializing.
On the flip side, as a community builder and founder of a social platform myself, I see the collective obsession with connectivity and performance trickle into the industry's perception of what a "successful" community looks like. Success metrics, for example, center the need for constant communication between community members in order to generate money for ad-based revenue models. But is this what community means? Is this what socialization means? Think about your friends, do you speak to them every hour of the day?
I'm walking away from 2021 with the sense that there's an undeniable demand for alternate spaces online that are actually social and actually rooted in community. When I say community, I don't mean extreme user behavior that dictates algorithms to ultimately generate more extreme content. When I say community, I mean a group of people who are united around their shared interests or identities, brought together in an online space to intentionally hang out. Like any healthy relationship, a social media space does not need to be addictive, all-consuming, or something you check every hour of the day. For what it's worth, there are other business models besides visual advertising too. The monetization of human interactions can be less predatory, less manipulative and more based in the reality of what communities actually look like.
2021 has been an incredible, stressful, and wildly fast-paced year to be building a place like Diem. I'm so incredibly exhausted, excited, and immensely grateful that we are shaping new, alternative spaces that will serve healthy, social communities both on and offline. This week, I actually re-read Charlotte Jee's essay, "A Feminist Internet Would Be Better For Everyone," and this quote particularly stuck with me:
"Aspects of the feminist internet are already taking shape. Achieving this vision would require us to radically overhaul the way the web works. But if we build it, it won’t just be a better place for women; it will be better for everyone."
Here's to 2022 being the year that building better digital places for women & non-binary folks is viewed not as charity work, but rather as a better reality for us all. Join me in adding "feminist internet" to your vision board?
Do you have something to say and want to write an op-ed in this weekly newsletter? Email us back about opportunities in 2022.
What we’re reading…
👀 The big case in gymnastics. Hundreds of gymnasts who were abused by Larry Nassar, the former team doctor of the national gymnastics team, have reached a $380 million settlement with U.S. gymnastics and Olympics organizations. The settlement is among the largest ever for a sexual abuse case. (New York Times)
📲 The TikTok comments have a lot to say about arranged marriage. Laid out clearly in TikTok comments, an accidental trend is starting to beg some big questions about arranged marriage in our modern world. (The Power Outlet)
😵💫 The pay gap in medicine. Women doctors earn $2 million less than men in their careers and not much is being done. Fortunately, some women physicians are taking matters into their own hands by working to bring more women and people of color into their profession and teaching them to advocate to be paid what they are owed. (The Lily)
🤯 Did the pandemic change dads forever? We're familiar with the data that tells us that millions of mothers left the workforce in the pandemic - but what about the dads? What the data doesn’t reflect are all the decisions taking place individually, between partners and colleagues, so that the places where gender norms that were once strictly followed are now becoming more fluid. (The 19th News)
Who we're Dieming with...
The final round up of live Sessions before 2022!
Julia Xu | Multitasky Founder, fmr. Alibaba Chief of Staff & Disney+ Financial Model Builder | Sharing knowledge on Financial Modeling and supply chain... TODAY at 2PM PT | 5PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Emily Miller | Founder, Off Limits | Sharing knowledge on brand NFTs and the opportunity for brands in the “Metaverse”... TODAY 3PM PT | 6PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Amber Atherton | Discord Exec, Founder, Angel Investor | Sharing knowledge on building communities, crypto and becoming angel investor… TODAY 4PM PT | 7PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Deena Emera, PhD | Evolutionary Biologist & Author | Sharing knowledge on publishing your first book… FRIDAY 9AM PT | 12PM ET, attend in Diem, here. .
Dr. Laurie Mintz | Psychologist & Sex Therapist | Sharing knowledge on the science vs. myths of vibrator use. MONDAY 2PM PT | 5PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Sabia Wade | Doula & Entrepreneur | Sharing knowledge on having a breast reduction. WEDNESDAY 11AM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Jaiya & Rima | Founders of Crypto Besties | Sharing knowledge on launching the first crypto make up collective designed to get more women into crypto via active learning. TUESDAY, 10AM PT | 1PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
Sarah Levy | Author, Drinking Games | Sharing knowledge on staying sober during the holiday season. WEDNESDAY 1PM PT | 4PM ET, attend in Diem, here.
What I learned Dieming with...
Maitree Mervana, Investor at Acrew… on web3 and increasing diversity in crypto...
"I have a belief that everyone is a creator in some form and fashion. Giving power to the creator on the ownership of their content is exciting... Web3 will unlock different incentive structures – people should be fairly compensated for the value of the content they're producing and that others are consuming… [Our interactions] are going to be a little more transactional in nature... i'm still figuring out how I feel about that part." Catch up and listen to the conversation, here.
Chloe Freeman, Founder at For Them… on queering wellness & showing up authentically.
"It takes a certain amount of privilege and bravery... to fully be oneself in every moment. I try myself to be authentically myself in all these moments... What a lot of the world doesn't understand about our customers is they have had to do a lot of internal work and inward reflecting and patching together the right thing to wear, the right underwear… to feel comfortable and accepted... and then they go to work and try and achieve the same things others are achieving when they don't have to think about all these things." Catch up and listen to the conversation, here.
Missed a Session you loved the look of? Update your app and catch up in Diem. Saved Sessions are live!
Happy Holidays! We’ll be back with you in 2022. Hope you all get some much needed rest & quality time with loved ones.