Individuality – Don’t Let it Disappear

Media is a diversion.

While most of us love the escape it creates – the flight is typically unnecessary and often overused. There are also questions on if what we view through our smart devices is real or not real – and does it matter if it sustains our brains for just a little bit?

Big tech companies have been adjusting how we digest information on smart devices for quite some time now. Our gadgets are meant to be addictive and create algorithms for each individual, which help promote sales, and other content which occasionally seems unnecessary.

Tristan Harris describes in “What is “Brain Hacking”? Tech Insiders on Why You Should Care” that these companies are “shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people.”
Larry Rosen, a psychologist of technology, also mentions in the same article that we tend to check our phones every 15 minutes or less, even if there’s no alert.

We’re addicted.

“Over time, the long merger of man and machine has worked out pretty well for man. But we’re drifting into a new era, when that merger threatens the individual.”

– Franklin Foer

We’re at risk for our individuality.

Especially during these times – while in a Pandemic – social media and use of smart devices have increased significantly.

Screenshot of graph from “When a Virus Goes Viral: Pros and Cons to the Coronavirus Spread on Social Media”

With the added use that most of us are indulging in during our time at home, we’ve let ourselves become even more addicted, and even more susceptible to Silicon Valley engineering our brains through our gadgets.

Additionally, with our overuse of this screen-sucker, we’ve discovered that news (whether real or fake) is just that – news that we indulge. S. Harris Ali and Fuyuki Kurasawa in “#COVID19: Social Media Both a Blessing and a Curse During Coronavirus Outbreak,” state that there is a “coronavirus infodemic.”

Coronavirus Infodemic – affects our responses and advances confusion on what sources are trustworthy, causing fear and furthering rumors.

It appears that we’ve become more accepting of information that we see or read, without confirming if it’s real or not. For example, the conspiracy theories on if masks actually work, resulting in the comprehensive push back from (mainly) Americans.

Social media = information poison

So here are some words of advice:

Use some of your time each day to be without any smart devices. This will allow you to be yourself without the constant algorithms shaping what and how you might think. Learn to be yourself, and DON’T let yourself lose your individuality!

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