I’ve been doing some reading on the effects of social media (facebook, insta, twitter, etc.) on our collective psyche. Here’s a few things I’ve learned from an interesting guy by the name of Jaron Lanier, former Silicon Valley guru now turned fierce critic of all things he helped create.
The core strategy and business model of social media as we know it is to let algorithms figure out and adapt to the ways that engage us as much as possible. The more engagement, the more they can sell your attention to advertisers. Since negative emotions are more readily accessible and longer lasting than positive ones (we remember pain), the systems adapt to drive you toward ever more negative emotions with the occasional positive one thrown in (a like, perhaps) to keep you coming back for more.
In other words, the whole thing is engineered to make you unhappy over time and increasingly addicted. Even worse, addiction is associated with anhedonia – the lessened ability to find pleasure in life apart from your addiction. So collectively we’re increasingly engaging with something that drives addiction and negative feelings AND makes the rest of life less pleasurable. Wow.
So here’s the good news. We all have a choice when it comes to these luxuries. Remove the app, delete the account, do whatever it takes to break the pull. Kick entropy in the face, remember? I want to keep finding MORE joy and love, not less. So I’ve removed it from my phone and logged out of it on my computer. I’m clear on what I believe and the life I want. I won’t allow social media to be a deterrent from my OPUS. That’s my principle. What’s yours?