…that would have me as a member
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…that would have me as a member

koyn the app, coming soon!

…that would have me as a member

"…..that would have me as a member"

Both Groucho Marx and Woody Allen got good use out of the quip "I don't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member." If these two comedy legends were social media hounds, I am sure they would say "I don't want to be part of any GROUP that would have me as a member."

Unfortunately, their choice of sites would be limited.

All the top sites develop groups for users, whether they try to or not. I assert there are two types of group formation: 1) active 2) passive.

Active group formation is the process of the site "suggesting", or "promoting", or pushing, or forcing you to choose or apply to a group. The largest site in the world "suggests" groups and moves you towards them. Other platforms provide a menu of groups you can choose from. I have seen a site where you apply to a group you are interested in. This tactic is so important to some platforms that they coerce application or choice of a group(s) in the onboarding stage.

Passive group formation happens when too many people of the same persuasion dominate the platform, homophily gone wild. Platforms that were well intentioned to be balanced end up being extreme on one side or another. This is passive because the person signing up is unaware of the direction the platform is heading. Before they know it, they are in a very biased group. Without knowing, they have picked a side.

It is a low probability that today's platforms will ever abandon groups. Groups allow for the efficient application of algorithms that propel people in groups to preferred actions like advertising. Groups provide a "one stop shop" for advertisers. Groups are too important for platforms.

The problem with "one stop shop" advertising is that advertisers often fail in targeting ads. Once a person is in the group, advertisements are often targeted at the group. The user is bombarded by an onslaught of ads they may find reprehensible. As example, a person may join a pro-gun group because they believe sportsmen should have access to rifles for hunting. But they may be against assault rifles. They may be for a cooling off period for handgun purchases. Being morally opposed to key issues will not stop the NRA from bombarding them. If advertisers took a more granular approach to users' tastes and leanings when targeting groups, "one-stop-advertising" may have merit.

Aside from the risk of targeted persuasion, there is the danger of being sucked into an echo chamber. When you are in a group, either due to passive or active forces, echo chambers evolve. Members of groups share the same views and opinions, a practice that spawns echo chambers.

Echo chambers are like making alcohol. In both a bunch of ingredients are put together and something is produced. With alcohol it could be beer, wine, or spirits; with echo chambers it is often beliefs and convictions. The effects of bad alcohol or bad users of alcohol are well known, and laws have been created to keep dangerous products (alcohol percentage) and actors at bay. But no one has tried to control the dangers of echo chambers, and no one probably will try. But the dangers must be made known, like the dangers of alcohol are made known through government warnings.

These concepts sound grim, but there is another option. That option is koyn. koyn is an opinion network, an opinion platform. No matter the issue a user engages in, there is always another side of the "koyn". The other side is always present. By having the other side always present the "great sucking "sound of confirmation bias is silenced, and the echo chamber is mitigated. By not being coerced into a group you maintain your independence in views and opinions. You have your own unique identity and the chances that you will be bombarded with ads that run counter to your sensibilities will be lowered.

Given all the negatives of Groups or Clubs, I am sure Woody Allen and Grouch Marx would investigate koyn. You should too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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