The case against algorithmic feeds
This was a fantastic read. "Scrolling algorithmically-sorted feeds (especially those with ads and inserted content) is ultimately surrendering control over our own sense of reality to for-profit big tech companies." ooof. That's a hard but important truth that everyone needs to hear.
Love the bit about boredom especially. Did you see the interview with Michael Cera in the Guardian? The reporter asked him what does he do when he has a spare 30 seconds and needs to satisfy boredom, and he replied that he just... allows himself to be bored. Imagine a world where we don't know how to be bored for 30 seconds.
Throughly enjoyed the passion and sarcasm used in the writing of this post!! Thank you for providing some nourishment in a sea of digital junk. Much, much appreciated
Truly one of your best posts! Especially the whole bit about creativity. I may watch TikTok more than TV but most of my time is spent reading books, articles and Substacks. Not off Facebook or Twitter but news readers. I will stop reading in the middle, let my mind wander and digest what I just read. But yes, boredom is also great.
Having spent a lot of time on early 2000s Internet forums, I've always thought departing from chronological ordering was a mistake. I'm reading more and more about user curated social media and apps from the "Fediverse". Seems like this is the way. Haven't yet found a great introductory piece that gives a good overview. For some reason I tend to find it quite overwhelming. Maybe I'm just lazy.
Andreessen went on Sam Harris’s podcast and, in response to Harris’s point that these algorithms hack human brains like junk food, his response was along the lines of “I don’t know, people do what they want.” There is a major gap between the people investing and building these technologies and the rest of us. I don’t know when this gap will be bridged.
The part about how social media incentivises rage-bait stuck with me. I often end up really upset after a bout of TikTok scrolling because the app kept lining up stories about true crime, and these stories would upset me because of the injustices done in them. I found myself going through the comments and the hashtags, glued to the screen, because I am especially sensitive to this type of injustice-induced rage. It's extremely effective because on one hand, this type of content deludes you into thinking you're doing something beneficial: you're making yourself aware of how 'evil' the world can be. Yet, at the same time, I forget about it after a while, only until the next video pops up on my For You page. These videos are recommended to me because I keep watching them, but more so, because everyone keeps watching them.
Simply consuming news through this cycle of rage-swings do nothing to help either my mental state, or the victims. It just raises my cholesterol and has me upset right before bedtime. In fact, it actually prevents us from making any real-life impact. Instead of researching how to, for example, help out people in need, we're just stuck on a 2739 page Facebook thread of people arguing about who is more wrong.
I really dig your posts and it is always a very inspiring read.
I wonder what setup you use to minimise distractions and „getting sucked back in“. I have tried a l lot of different approaches in the past to stay away from unhealthy apps and newssites, but havent found a modus operandi that works for more than a few days. The internet is just too „sticky“ these days. Im currently planning on using an apple watch with celluar without a smartphone when I leave the house, and leaving my phone in the desk for most of the day as well. I feel MUCH BETTER when I reduce surfing to a minimum througout the day, but living completely off the grid is not manageable because of my job. So im wondering, whats your long term solution to staying somehow connected and using essential apps without the added addictive stressors of smartphones, tablets and most websites in general?
Looking forward to your next post.
Cheers from germany