Social Media and Neocities
the bazaar vs. the suburbs

I was contemplating as to how social media compares with places like Neocities; possible differences, similarities, etc. And I think I found a suitable metaphor.

Social media is like one of those outdoor markets - I guess we could also call them bazaars. You, the user, get a single stall. You show your content to other people, trying to get attention of those passerbys. The thing is, there are like hundreds of millions of other stalls, all of them competing with you. It is cutthroat. It is impossible to stand out from a tiny stall. Meanwhile, the top celebrities have the biggest stalls in the entire market, and everyone goes there for content instead of the millions of other tiny stalls.

Meanwhile, places like Neocities represent the typical suburban neighbourhood. Each user has their own home: their website. Though personalized, it is still fairly open to the public. It is like back in the days when people didn't lock their doors - you can just visit other people's houses and they'll gladly let you in. Each and every house is built and decorated to the person's taste, and the content which they serve even moreso.

The main difference of the two being that social media is homogenized. Everyone gets a stall. And there are rules to abide by in the outdoor market, else your license may be revoked and you'll be evicted. There are trends in the market, and popular content fluctuates all of the time. If you don't react well to the market shifts, then you get absolutely screwed over by the economy, or what is commonly known as the algorithm.

This is not even considering the lack of customization that your stall gets in the market. You can change the sign and the logo on your stall, and that is it. Meanwhile, people in places like Neocities get their own personalized home that is built exactly for them. And they can renovate it too if they so desire.

Social media is the heavily industrialized, cold place to share content, whilst Neocities is like that warm suburban neighbourhood with all of your quirky neighbours in close proximity. At least, that is how I like to think it to be.

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