As I have mentioned before... the impetus for me to start my own website, my own blog, my own vlog was to break free from the claws of the social media matrix! In previous posts I described how I tackled this process and reached the point where I am now. A place where my media is mine, where I am developing and building my own website not building and refining algorithms to be prostituted as an advertising opportunity!
While I have not completely broken away from social media... my LLC has pages... I have 2 special interest pages on IG and Sandy the dog has her own IG page! Sandy is the master user with which I control my LLC and special interest pages (keto diet and jumprope). But ME- Steve Barlow, is not on social media. Biologistbarlow is on youtube, mainly because the data storage provided for me here on my website is not conducive to storing tons of videos.
Essentially what I have done is shifted to using social media as a tool instead of being the TOOL of social media. I have taken control instead of being controlled, trolled, manipulated and prostituted.
Now please understand I truly believe when social media was first created the overarching goals and aspirations for this new form of technology was completely GOOD. And in many ways it has been good. But just like any tool such as a HAMMER... it can build or destroy and even be a tool for murder!
I started my own personal anti social media movement around 4 months ago. It has served me well! I do not miss Facebook! It has freed up tremendous time for real self development instead of false self development which is most of what time spent on social media really is. Social media is a false reality, wherein you believe you are interacting with others and receiving affirmations of inclusion to the tribe. These affirmations trigger the pleasure centers in the brain and promote more use. However these are not real and are created by algorithms running on computers in some huge facility in California. These algorithms are learning every move you make, everything you like/dislike.... all for one purpose- to keep you on the screen so you can be marketed to!
This central approach is all about making $$$. There is no grand conspiracy... indeed conspiracies in the traditional sense of the word are exceedingly rare. The real conspiracy is the drive to make tons of MONEY! There are a handful of companies now in CA who are now the richest companies ever in the history of the world! At its root there is not really anything wrong with making money... but again unintended consequences pop up. One consequence is the promotion of TRIBALISM. This comes about as the algorithm works very efficiently to pop up pictures, stories, people and media that matches what you like/dislike. Why? TO KEEP YOU ON THE SCREEN... TO HAVE YOU AVAILABLE FOR ADS.
Since the algorithm feeds your likes/dislikes you see what builds your particular tribe... and you are now separated from others. The opposite of "social". This drive to keep you on the screen and make money feeds tribalism. The nasty world of "cancel culture" we live in today is a direct result of this social media business model. Where others opinions or views are labelled as evil or the enemy with no intelligent discourse or debate. If its not in your tribe's paradigm it has to be fake news. Fake news itself is also a result of these algorithms feeding you exactly what you want despite how preposterous it maybe... Flat earther? We have pages to validate that coming right up!
One of the most horrifying outcomes from all this has been the concomitant increase in teen depression and suicides. Between 2009-2017 rates of depression among kids ages 14-17 has increased by more than 60%! In kids 12-13 the increase is 47% and in kids 18-21 its 46%!!!! Rates of suicides have more than doubled in the same time period. Particularly among girls.
Where is the big outcry??? Where is the BLM movement for this??? Evidently this is ok... everyone is happy to just play along and stay on Facebook????
Why aren't the evangelicals and Hollywood elites alike not up in arms over this????
And maybe more importantly what can I do as a parent of a teen? First and foremost set the freaking example as the grown up! Take control of your own social media use. Quit being a bitch for the social media empires! Now I don't expect most people to have the inner strength to leave Facebook and delete your account just because... but... you can take more control. One great step is to turn off NOTIFICATIONS. The only buzz my phone makes is for calls or text messages.... all other notifications are turned off.
You can also simply walk away from your phone. I spent 4 days backpacking in the wilderness recently with no service and it was amazing. I am making concerted efforts in my daily life to do things WITHOUT the constant companionship of my phone.
Remind your kids what is real and important. What are real values and fake values. In so doing you are reminding yourself too!
And finally watch the new documentary on Netflix- The Social Dilemma With your kids!
I hope for your sake, the sake of your family and for our society as a whole each of us recognize what is happening and then take personal responsibility before its too late! Quit being a puppet for a small group of puppet masters in California... quit being told what to think, what to say and how to vote. Start being your own individual. Stand up today! Don't blame the algorithm, blame the person holding the device.