WALL OF TEXT: SOCIAL MEDIA ARE DESIGNED TO DO THIS. I’ve renewed my resolution to stay off social media six days a week, and so far I’m sticking to it. Reading and watching more about the leaked documents from Facebook confirms what I already figured out: social media websites and apps are designed to keep us angry. Anger drives interaction and thus use of the site more than anything else. That Facebook keeps showing me a certain someone’s posts over and over, even though I don’t want to see them, is no accident. It’s designed to do this because Facebook wants me to be angry—the algorithm is programmed to analyze the words I type to gauge the reaction to a particular post, so it shows me more like that. Twitter does the same thing. On top of that, every site of this type has everyone chasing likes and trying to gain fans for those little hits of dopamine. They’re designed to provide it in such a way to keep us chasing more. These websites are changing us, and not for the better. To speak even more broadly, the Facebook leak shows exactly how Capitalism works: instead of encouraging interaction that lifts people higher and makes them better, it magnifies the worst kind of interactions in order to drive usage. We call ourselves an advanced society when profit motive drives people to behave this way? It is the only way companies can behave so long as profit is the goal. Bioshock was no exaggeration. Business can and will destroy us if it means investors profit. Everything wrong with the planet can be traced back to this. If the government collected the kind of information these giant technology companies did, Americans would march in the streets screaming about the evils of a surveillance society—if the government manipulated algorithms that encouraged certain types of interactions or suppressed search results based on our profiles and region, we would be screaming about the dangers of censorship and social engineering—but when private companies do these things, Americans don’t care. We cannot allow algorithms to decide what we see and don’t see. We can and must break up the big tech companies. Failing that, we must get off social media and shop other places besides Amazon and use other search engines besides Google. The only way to combat the limited information spheres these tech companies are keeping us in is to deliberately seek out other sources. As for me, the urge to cut everything and start from zero is getting stronger. I should chop social media entirely. Maybe I’ll make that break in the future, but I can’t break entirely. I must be visible somewhere, and blogger isn’t enough. Social media websites are huge distractions. I want my focus back. Remember who you were before social media. You can be that person again.


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