Holding on and not giving in

I was reading about social media attacking our free will. It reminded me of the internal struggle I had when trying to get that Gmail address in 2004 (invite-only, already a vicious mind trick). At that time, Gmail was vastly superior to anything around but the catch was unprecedented: Google would have access to my emails and contacts. I remember pondering and not wanting that at all. I gave in.

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it’s more about people having a totally different sense of reality, even within the same society or on the same street. It really makes it hard to achieve that common sense of what’s at stake that is necessary for an effective democracy.

And this behavior reinforces itself because of the power of communities, that are sheltering us from a lot but also are destroying the common. In the end, we still all live together on the same big rock. The sense of being all part of the same thing needs to stay but is pulled out by a mix of technology and capitalism.

Every week there are these outrage cascades online. Outrage is a rewarding thing to us, because it fulfills a lot of these psychological needs we have. It could be used to help us move forward, but often, they’re used to keep us clicking and scrolling and typing.

That’s honestly what I fear most about all the sexual harassment stories lately. Not that they are false, but that we think those websites are trying to be progressive when they’re mostly playing us for clicks. Those stories are sadly not new so why so many in few months? Because engagement is insane and metrics are in real time, pushing for all kinds of shady tactics. That undermines actual solutions to real problems.

I don’t know any comparable governmental or religious mechanism that’s anything comparable to the smart phone and social media, in the sense that people give so much attention to it, and it has such a frequency and duration of operation.

I think it varies a lot across generations. Boomers don’t care. Most Gen X can slow down and not give a fuck overnight. Millennials, less. Gen Z, smartphone natives, even less if at all. Don’t give phones to your kids. Let them grow without that stuff as much as possible.

In the end we need to stop using advertising as the source of income in a global environment, it’s just bad design that created what we’re living now. It’s already unsustainable. Let’s stop giving in.

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