Smartphones & Tablets

Smartphones, Tablets and How Social Media Hijacks Our Minds

It’s no news that the use of smartphones and tablets has been found to be detrimental for the usual brain development of children. Recent studies, however, have shown that the exaggerated use of smartphones is causing damage in adults too. One of the most serious effects of smartphone abuse is social retardation, which has grave repercussions across a wide spectrum of behaviors.

But wait, there’s more. The “hardware” side of the problem is further compounded by the software that we use. According to Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager, our minds are being hijacked by social media (and other similar online products).

The smartphone is not only made to capture our attention, but also to encourage changes in how our brain works (neuroplasticity plays a huge role in this). As a result of these changes, our attention is easier to capture and once baited, it can be manipulated so that it doesn’t escape the trap. It wouldn’t be so bad if our attention and time would be invested in something useful, but many times this is not the case.

How to Wield Facebook

How to Make Facebook Show You the Stuff You Really Care About

Facebook doesn’t really do its job when you ask of it to follow a website for you. Here you will find two images that explain how you can properly follow a page on Facebook. Unless you change your notification settings as shown in the images, the default behavior is that whatever you see in your news feed is at the whim of algorithms designed to extract money out of everybody using the website – users on the one side and advertisers on the other. Sadly Facebook treats as advertisers even non-profit content creators such as myself, but more on that inside the article.

It’s a pity that I even have to type this but alas, due to the rather unfair algorithms employed by Facebook (and many other social networks), I realize it’s necessary to explain the current situation. Before I start, I’d like to emphasize that I have no problem with Facebook making a profit. As a living commercial entity, it needs to survive in order to evolve. But what will it evolve into? We as users of Facebook need to voice our concerns if we wish to have a say in its evolution. A social network should be the best place to make oneself heard but unfortunately, in the case of Facebook this is increasingly false.

Facebook currently deepens the chasms between social groups, reducing one’s opportunity to discuss with people outside one’s comfort zone. Like any company, Facebook wants its users happy. Happy users spend more time on the website and make the company more money.

Another way Facebook algorithms are hurting is treating non-profits as if they were advertisers. The website is built quite “intelligently” so that it coerces the owners of pages into paying for getting exposure.

Hypernormalisation

Hypernormalisation

Wait wait wait. Before you start screaming “Whaaat!? An almost three hours long documentary about manufactured truth and propaganda through social media?!”, just watch this short, 1 minute extract from mentioned documentary.

Now, imagine that there are a lot more minutes like that in the documentary located at the link below. Also imagine that together, these seconds are more powerful than taken in individual extracts (think “interconnected brains math”: 1+1=3, 3+3=a million). Now feel free to go ahead and advance your awareness of the world.

Donald Trump's World is Censored

How Donald Trump Becoming President Changed My World

Months ago, I wrote a short piece rationalizing why Trump will not be president of the USA (unless the Republican party wants to commit political suicide). I was quite sure it will be the first and last time I’d mention his name on this website. Then, I was given a stark reminder that “nothing’s certain”. Not only did Trump get the presidency, but the Republican party is doing quite well.

I’m not ruling out political suicide just yet, but this doesn’t change the fact I’ve made a serious estimation error regarding Donald’s chances. It has been one of my most disappointing prognoses, so I chastised myself over it more than a few times. However, I spent far more energy into learning from this mistake. There are many teachings indeed.