I joined, that’s quite an experience!
Artist Ben Grosser created a new genre of social media platform; on MINUS, you are only allowed 100 posts — for life.
You can not download any file, picture, audio, nor video.
You can only express yourself with your keyboard: letters, numbers, punctuation, and special characters.
You can not follow anyone.
There is no like or clap button.
Exactly! This concept of a finite platform encourages users to rethink and reframe their whole relationship with social media. As a coach helping people better manage their screentime, this sounded like my jam, so I joined. My initial excitement turned into deep introspection as I decided to write my first post.
More than ever before online, I felt I had to choose every single word carefully. The sobriety of the design reminded me of the romanesque churches; massive piers and walls, very few windows. An invitation to silence. Starting the countdown was intimidating, there was a lot to consider before jumping in.
On Minus, there are no nudges, no contact suggestions, no news feed based on your preferences. You are on your own, with your bag of 100 posts. You get to choose the way you engage with the platform. There is no community yet. There might never be.
So why on earth would people join such an unsettling club?
I don’t know about others, but I find freedom in a self-restraint environment; it is challenging and enhances my creativity. And as a book lover, I’m turned on by a world based on words.
That said when I was trying to write my first post, many questions collided in my head.
Should I use Minus as a public journal? If so, should I talk about my experience on the platform or my life in general?
Do I want people to know me?
Do I want to bond with anyone?
Should I reply to other people’s posts?
I mean, engaging in a conversation means investing in a relationship, so does every interaction have to be worth it?
Is it that big of a deal to spend 1 credit on a random person?
Joining Minus is not neutral, at least not for me. It resonates with personal convictions like the need for a more human technology, not based on sucking up people’s attention for financial profit.
Less digital interactions could also mean fewer carbon emissions.
But wait, why would I ever use my 100 posts if I want to lean towards a more responsible use of technology?
Will my future self thank me for supporting a controversial artist or blame me for adding extra noise to the noise?
I decided to do it for the sake of Art. Always a good excuse/motivation as far as I am concerned.
Posted recently, when @karine had 100 left.
With all that pressure, it took me about one hour to write my first two sentences. I thought about the Arecibo message sent to space for potential aliens to hear. What to say? To whom?
I’ve always hated social media bios; I was certainly not going to waste a hundredth of my credits with a formal introduction. Who would care anyway? I still had no clue what I was doing, but I knew I was not looking for new friends or clients.
I ended up sharing something a bit weird yet true, which sounds like a journal entry. I won’t share it here; I am guessing whatever happens on Minus stays on Minus.
All I can say is that I heard crickets back.
I did not expect more.