Archive for September 28th, 2020

As someone else said “ironically I’m using social media to share this” – but I urge you to watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix. I’d seen a couple of my friends make reference to it, but didn’t really take much notice. But today I had a bit of spare time so I watched it…..and it scared the hell out of me.

To quote a quote:
“There are only two industries that call their customers “user’s” : illegal drugs and software”.

There is such a lot of information in the documentary that my mind was thrown into turmoil. Interviewing the very people who set up these programmes and the ubiquitous algorithms that we all love so much.

It made for very uncomfortable viewing.

We are being manipulated by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, et al….in order for them to make money off of us. It may have started off fairly benign, but now, every tool in the book is being used to manipulate us like puppets. Every emoji we use prompts the algorithm to feed us like a lab rat…their words, not mine. I would urge you to watch it, it is really quite important to understand what they are doing behind the scenes and how they are manipulating us. It’s in no way benign.

In the heydey of the new platform; Facebook I, like many others, friended people left right and centre. I connected with people I’d never met from the far corners of the planet…without any thought whatsoever to whether or not they were indeed ‘friendly’. Over the years and especially when I started with multi-level marketing, I ‘friended’ so many people that my feed was filled with stuff I had no interest in. Once I removed myself from the MLM industry I unfriended everyone I had connected with unless I had actually met them in person. The same went for the people I met via Personal Development. What I found was that unless you were superficial you were not worthy of their attention. It was the ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset. I hated that, So I unfriended well over 1000 people. People I never heard from again.

But I still continued to accept friend requests and once I got started on twitter I ‘met’ a lot of people that then transferred to Facebook. Over the past 4 years I’ve realised that despite having so many’ friends’, very few were actively engaged, and so I unfriended another few hundred until I was down to people I actually knew, or had met in person, or people I had formed a relationship with regardless of where they were from. Just over a year ago, due to an emotional upset I logged off facebook….and of all the friends I was connected to, only 1 actually contacted me to find out if I was okay.

Other than that I also unfriended anyone who supported that snake farage, brexit or trump. And so my friends list shrunk to a reasonably manageable list of 150. Still there were people there I had never met or couldn’t actually remember why we connected, but with some I stayed connected because they posted interesting articles or we had things in common.

After watching the documentary ‘Don’t F*ck With Cats’ – the actual title, I immediately stopped posting photos of my grandson and put my profile onto private.

When Covid-19 came along at the beginning of the year, I logged back onto Facebook purely so that I could connect with friends just to make sure that everyone I cared about was okay.

But what I’ve noticed over the following months is that I am spending more and more time on Facebook and my emotions are on a constant rollercoaster. For example…..a friend will post a photo that I admire so I ❤ it. The someone else will post something about Syria and I click the sad emoji. Then another article will appear on my timeline about the useless UK government and after reading the article I click the angry emoji and share the article with a scathing or angry comment. And then someone else will share a cat video or a funny meme and I find myself using the laughing emoji. Or someone would share an amazing image and I’d click the ‘wow’ emoji. And then there are the posts that I just ‘like’. But, I was on a constant yo-yo of emotions and in a few minutes or hours I’d swing from love, to anger, to laughter, to sadness and boring old liking……every fucking day!!!

I’m exhausted. All my friends share different articles and they all share them on different days according to what they are interested in, love, get angry about, are saddened by or awed. And these all appear in my timeline on a constant loop. And my emotions are constantly swung one way or another…over and over and over.

What I found even more scary is that these platforms are only getting started with their manipulations, with their monetising. Try having a conversation with a friend about…..say….a wedding. Next thing you’ll see advert after advert about weddings, or holidays, or that cruise, or shoes or baby clothes…..this is not an accident! This is marketing manipulation on a massive scale.

Now if you’re okay with that, then fine. But it’s how they’re moving it forward, and how they use algorithms to manipulate your emotions, your beliefs, your values, your thoughts and your emotions….and your bank account!! Don’t underestimate the value that is placed on those adverts….they are designed to make you buy something you probably don’t need or want….much like adverts on TV and the papers…although that is just a little less pernicious, not much but they don’t work on algorithms designed to keep you scrolling endlessly seeking seeking seeking the next article or image or video…..I know. I do that every day till my thumb and wrist aches.

And it’s all being done deliberately so that the people behind the scenes can increase their wealth exponentially. I can’t detail it all here, but I would urge you to watch the documentary and make up your own mind.

Don’t be surprised if you find my profile shut down (actually, ironically, a friend reacted angrily to my post, and left a really angry comment, and that precipitated my logging off).

I left Twitter 18 months ago, and the only reason I haven’t hadn’t as yet left Facebook is was because it’s a way to keep in touch with you, my friends…but I’m very uncomfortable with what I’m seeing. I’m not understanding this for the first time, and I’m aware of how these platforms manipulate us, but it’s the first time the full reality of what and how they do it is becoming clear. And it is a drug. We are all addicted whether we find excuses or not to deny it…we are addicted.

I see it with my own family. My daughter and I used to have some amazing conversations…..now when I visit she has her head plastered to her phone. I’ve asked her time and again to please not spend any time we have together glued to her phone but she will always find a reason to continue…there’s always a reason. She can’t even watch a movie without engaging on her phone. It irks me tremendously, but my pleas fall on deaf ears. Her husband too, is always clicking on his phone and unless I can engage their attention with something, anything really, I end up sitting there staring at the TV, or I pick up my phone and do the same. What really annoys me though is that when the in-laws are visiting (the perfect family), she doesn’t sit with her face glued to her phone but chats to them.

Sadly, they have started their son off on YouTube videos and he cannot sit down to a meal without having to be entertained by YouTube. He is already addicted to the screen time, and Daddy rushes about desperately trying to find his phone so baby can watch the screen and be entertained while he has food doled out into his mouth. Screen time has gone from a few minutes to well over an hour, because that is sometimes how long it takes him to eat. I’ve no doubt she will disagree with me, and will probably be somewhat angry that I have written this down, but from parents who, when they were expecting said they wouldn’t be spending time on social media when baby is around, they’ve gone in completely the opposite direction…There was a time when my honesty was appreciated and I could talk to her about things like this…

Every time you click an emoji you are feeding your addiction. Every video or article you click on feeds your addiction and these platforms drip feed us every day every minute we have our phones switched on….watch the documentary and make up your own mind…their main goal is to keep you on the platform for as long as possible and the Ai programmes are designed and built to nudge you if you’re away for too long. Those notifications……!!!

To say that I hate Facebook would be an understatement. And if you think I’m overexaggerating, try looking around you…on the bus, on the tube, in a park, on the streets (how many times don’t people practically knock you over), in the cinema, in a theatre, in the doctors waiting room, driving in their car…people are killed every day because that truck driver, or bus driver or your own family are unable to put their phones down even while driving, in your own home…look around you, observe and realise that this is all down to manipulation, by platforms DELIBERATELY designed to engage and keep your attention for as long as possible, and when you step away, they are designed to grab your attention and get you back on for as long as possible.

Watch the documentary and make up your own mind. Even the very people who created these platforms and the machinations behind them, restrict their children from using social media. Ask yourself why!!

For me, I’m out.

29/09/20 a friend of mine in Australia suggested that he’d be curious to hear what effect my leaving facebook would have in a few weeks…..I could immediately tell him that it had induced a state of anxiety. Which as I said to him, absolutely makes me certain I’ve done the right thing. I find my brain and my hands wanting to log on (but I’ve forgotten my password LOL) and see what’s been posted. I’ve used facebook as way to keep myself from getting bored when I have downtime on my job, but I’m going to find myself a hobby to keep busy.

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