Daily Inspiration: “Negative people seem to believe they can drag you down and destroy your optimism. Prove them wrong!”

Category under: Blog, Daily Inspiration, Growth

“Negative people seem to believe they can drag you down and destroy your optimism. Prove them wrong!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

Something remarkable has been happening in the last month: millions of people have rapidly coalesced around an alternative to Twitter known as Mastodon. Rather than being one big system now owned by one megalomaniac with erratic tendencies, this wonderful network consists of thousands of interconnected systems, all guided by one seemingly basic purpose – don’t be vile.

This might seem entirely inconsequential to you, but it is important, because minds that think – folks of science, medical and healthcare, information technology professionals, inventors and dreamers, the marginalized populations, and those being subjected to hate – increasingly found it untenable to spend their time on Twitter. The reason that is important is described in trend #15 of my 23 Trends for 2023 post yesterday – simply put, the world had learned how to rapidly share critical information in a world that was in desperate need of that critical information.

Then, the tool to advance society became a toxic cesspool. And within the last month, since Elon Musk bought the company, the value of this powerful tool has essentially collapsed.

Why is this important? The connectivity to be found in linking together minds that matter advances society in ways that were not previously possible. During Covid, the global medical and scientific community learned how to rapidly coalesce and organize through Twitter to share critical insight. Technology professionals developed groups that instantly shared their thoughts on how to quickly develop national and local efforts to ensure rapid vaccine distribution. Communities subjected to hate – the black community and LGBTQ communities – found Twitter to be a powerful home to organize their goal of fighting hate and protecting their communities. Globally, starting with the Arab Spring in 2013, the network became the place where people chasing the elusive dream of freedom organized and pursued their efforts. Climate scientists and activists who understand that fundamental science tells us that we are not going to a very good place found each other and accelerated their sharing of insight.

All of these things undoubtedly made the world a better place – they accelerated knowledge, helped people discover real solutions to complex problems, and advanced careers. It moved people forward – and in doing so, Twitter became a part of the lives of those who actively discovered the magic of connectivity.

I remember watching ER docs early on during the pandemic, and realized that something very profound was happening online. I knew that if I were a single ER doctor in a ward in middle America dealing with an overwhelmed emergency department full of patients dying from Covid, I had nowhere to turn to understand the new rules of triage. Except, I could now turn to a new, fast-assembled community of similar ER doctors from all over the world who were rapidly learning and sharing insight on how to deal with a situation of unimaginable complexity.

Connectivity was a godsend, a miracle, a gift to an intelligent civilization.

Those were the types of positive things we saw happening online.

And then, all of a sudden, it changed.

The dangerous split in society around the pandemic, and climate science, engendered hate and racism, and extreme politics came into Twitter. It was already there, but as society worsened, so too did the online communities that were formed. The network – the tool you had discovered was a powerful ally in your quest for knowledge and your efforts to advance the world around you – became a toxic sewer. Spending time there quickly became so much worse than having to spend time with your racist uncle. So … much …. worse.

Almost overnight, and yet not really, since it took some time for it to happen, Twitter – and other networks – became an angry cesspool of hate, a petri dish of putrid attacks, and an engine of vile commentary. Some of this came from bots, but it also came from the rapid rise of the angry right, people who seem to have no agenda other than to fire off their anger at anyone who dares question their angry purpose. We all know these people – we all know we have lost once powerful friendships. We have seen friends descende into madness, lost in the conspiracy theories of a collective sick mind.

With that in mind, today’s quote first started out with this thought  – but I then decided that it truly didn’t fit what I was trying to say:

I wanted to say that I think that minds that matter – people who have optimism wired into their sould – have found a new home.

Suffice it to say, since early November, something is happening. These new communities are rapidly organizing and finding themselves a new home on Mastodon.

Does it matter? Definitely. You can easily find reports of concern as to what the loss of a home for intelligent communities might mean to intelligent people:

And yet, you can see the signs that they are already rapidly reorganizing themselves on Mastodon. For example, this community, med-mastodon.com, offers itself up as a potential new home for the medical community.

This matters. The global hive-mind of science and healthcare needs a home. The climate science and activist community needs a home. The LGBTQ community needs a home. Blacks and others who are subjected to hate need a home.

Optimists need a home – I need one to feed the energy of optimism within my soul. I’ve found it here.

The thing is, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of these communities springing up – and anyone can establish one. The growth rate of Mastodon is nothing less than astounding. And every time the world’s newest craziest angry guy does something – such as banning reports who might say something negative about him and hurt his megalomaniac feelings – we see a new flood of people to the network.

Something is happening, and it is profound.

What keeps the hate, anger, and insanity off the network? Why is your crazy racist uncle not showing up, screaming his angry diatribes against the clouds? Because no one owns the network – it is a distributed engine of cooperative insight. Anyone can ban an individual; a network can ban an entire ‘instance’. If a site starts up that becomes an engine of hate, people can just turn them off. Banish them. Send them into oblivious nothingness.

I know my existence within these new networks depends upon my behavior. Like, being the same sort of sane, rational person that I am in the real world.

And so far, it’s working.

I myself am a long-time veteran of the network, having been there for 45 days. Each day, I see posts from new people finding their way in, looking around, and realizing that it is a positive, welcoming space by which they might rebuild their knowledge networks and bolster their optimism

Yesterday, I captured these sentiments in a short toot. (That’s what we call them – I wish I had a 3-year-old so I could just say, ‘quiet, Daddy’s tooting!’)

I have had, literally, hundreds of responses, hundreds of new followers, and thousands of sharing of this simple post. I am rediscovering my felllow optimists.

I am home.

Optimism is being reborn, and its home is within Mastodon.

And I am a part of it, and I am overjoyed.


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.