We've all heard the jokes and seen the memes: that you shouldn't be able to use social media unless you aren't a) a troll, b) a racist, C) a misogynist, d) deathly stupid or e) Donald Trump.
But I propose something a little more concrete. Actual plug-ins. Integrated functionalities. That I believe Facebook users in particular would appreciate. They should function as a barrier to entry, so that if a user cannot pass a basic but specific test, he or she cannot use the platform.
Here’s an overview…
1. A comprehension captcha
If a Facebook user is unable to read a short piece of text and comprehend, with a significant degree of accuracy, the messaging conveyed within, without making up his own version of the writer’s meaning or missing the point completely, he should be unable to leave a comment in relation to that post.
2. A narcissism altimeter
If a user develops a history of sharing semi-nude selfies, glistening full body shots, duck-face photos or a snapshot reflected in any kind of bathroom mirror, she should be required to undertake a narcissism self-test before posting further content. She should also be stringently vetted, in a separate process, for her use of #justsaying, #sorrynotsorry, #blessed and #lovemylife.
3. An anti-assholery gauge
If a user appears to be striding through Facebook with the objective of being an asshole to others, whether in the form of troll-y comments, bigoted content, or mean bullshit that starts with ‘Sorry, but…’, he should have his access curtailed. This functionality, for practical purposes, might also be integrated with a ‘dipshit dipstick’, to proactively weed out assholes-in-training.
4. An integrated irony plug-in
If a user is manifestly deficient in intellect – resulting in being patently unable to identify the use of dramatic, situational or verbal irony; tolerate a well-intentioned joke; or recognise a spoof, parody or instance of satire; she should have her account fitted with an integrated irony plug-in.
5. A basic spelling self-test
If a user cannot, at first attempt, correctly use the following words (with or without the aid of a spell-checking plug-in or online dictionary), he should not be able to share opinions on Facebook:
- Lose / loose
- Its / it’s
- Their / they’re / there
- Of / off
- Quite / quiet
- To / too / two
Now, these are the Fantastic Five, if you will, but there are three others that, based on demand, might be worthwhile as well: the overshare indicator; the anti-whinging widget; and the all-important heartstrings margin (for users who compulsively share photos of animals looking for ‘a forever family’).
If you have the contacts (a cousin who knows someone who knows Uncle Mark, maybe?) or the brains to assist with this development, I’d appreciate it. If not, I’d like to know what I’ve left out. What functionalities do you think should be a barrier to entry on social media? Sound off in the comments.