I just finished watching Jeff Orlowski's "The Social Dilemma" now playing on Netflix.
I should have known, (I do teach a class on Social Media) and I guess I did know. In the class, we talk about our tech addictions, which platforms, what we can do about them. We read Andrew Sullivan's seminal, early work on the topic ("I Used to Be a Human Being"), and we work on creation of content that promotes social good. I did know that a few young, white boys in Silicon Valley used a convergence of persuasion technology, psychology, algorithms, and ruthlessness to create addictive design.
"If the product is free, then you are the product."
Your data is the product, your Pavlovian responses are the goal - ruthlessly applied so that they make money on every click.
After watching the movie, I turned off notifications everywhere; deleted FaceBook on everything but one laptop; deleted Twitter everywhere (I'll use the web), and I promised myself not to post anything political when feeling frustrated by the noise/news of the day. Political posts from me sway no one; I'll leave it to experts to do the research and their journalistic jobs.
I deleted Instagram ages ago. Never understood the appeal of Pinterest - given my home looks like a summer camp, perhaps that's not surprising.
Watch the movie. The very men who created social media explain the damage they've done. Political polarization, echo chamber connections, trolling, teenage bullying and the loss of self-esteem - including self-harm and suicides, conspiracy theories and rising movements of hate, Russian interference and manipulation of elections and lives. All of it, as these men intentionally conditioned us to go deeper into the rabbit hole, to lose track of time, to seek ever more unsatisfying digital validation, to alter ourselves with endless selfies and selfie-filters, and more and worse and never-ending and no solution in sight to put this evil genie back in the bottle. (PS: they're sorry. Oops.)
No solution, except for each of us to recognize the harm, pull ourselves out, and advocate for regulation.
Watch the movie. Save yourself and each other.