Big Tech Is Channeling Our Emotions:
Gone are the days, when piles of books on our night stands would induce the terror of not catching up with all the things we wanted to do. Now, we have podcasts we have lined up that are filling up space on our phones. We have messages on Whatsapp that are overflowing that we’re unable to respond to and recommendations on YouTube that will last us about 64000 years, when watched non stop.
And the biggest worry of all? We’re seeing posts from friends and family and wondering to ourselves, are we being outraged enough at what’s happening to our world??!
It’s All Part Of a Plan:
Believe it or not, it was all part of a plan. And Big Tech is at the center of our digital lives, which has created a new economy. That means attention is capital and our eyeballs, its new currency.
Big Tech wants us to continue being screen suckers, so it can gather enough of our attention spans to boost its bottom line. Somehow, having us as arm chair activists and moral police mulling over the internet for something to get outraged on, is a good value proposition for these Digital corporations.
They want us and our children to become narcissistic, polarized and continue to confuse our busyness for productivity.
If we want to reign in the control back in our lives, we must stop doing these following things.
We must stop: Confusing Busyness for Productivity
Teach yourself and your children that being busy doesn’t equate productivity. Learn how to use technology the right way and the most efficient way. Realize that you and your children might be under performing because your precious resources like time, attention, money are being spent online and away from your primary goals in life.
There’s no doubt email is a necessity in the modern world. Planning events, coordinating family gatherings, sending a quick note to a loved one who lives far away – the advantages are endless. However, we often forget that no one is tying our productivity to the number of seconds it took us to respond to an “urgent” email.
We must stop: Confusing Stimuli For Entertainment:
Man’s stupidity and mother nature’s fury is everything that makes up for breaking news. Fake news has influenced Presidential elections and celebrity fashion has changed our ideas about comfort clothing. One look at the comment section on any major news website and you can see that everyone feels like an Anderson Cooper shelling out his opinion like it matters.
Everyday we hear about apps that have the potential to change our efficiency, our productivity and thus, our lives. But the potential of all these apps, devices and technology is not just unilateral. These tools are efficient in the hands of people who know the intention and the value what they want out of technology. In the end, it should serve as an enabler, not make us humans a product of its distraction.
We see others’ lives as high light reels on our social network walls and imbibe the glamour of it all through our glass screens. We come out of the experience with a sense of self that is skewed. As a result, we live our lives in content curation mode. We’re always making up our faces and our stories.
We must stop: Confusing Content For Creativity:
When we’re in Big Tech’s company, there’s very little space for private thought. We stop experiencing ourselves in the present moment because we don’t pause to acknowledge our passing thoughts. As a result, we don’t connect the dots of information to create output, because we’re too busy consuming input. Our over stimulated brains on technology stimuli are killing creative reproduction.
As we post content, we all use the same filters, pose with the same pouts and share the same fake news from the same source which is sitting on the other side of the world. We don’t care to leave our own digital footprint and we all become monochromatic.
Earlier, it was our handwriting that made us unique and our personality three dimensional in the real world, but thanks to Big Tech, we’re all becoming like each other. We are replacing a vibrant diverse landscape of individual creativity and personality with monotonous repetitive algorithmic architecture.
We must stop: Confusing Addiction For Distraction:
Technology was supposed to be a super cool addition to make our hectic lives as efficient as possible. Instead, it has turned out to be the main stay of our lives, while we try to work on our big goals in the margins. We are fighting daily matches of distractions to eek out a few minutes here and there between our social media and Internet consumption to work on our serious personal and professional goals.
Instead of eating, we post pictures. Instead of reading, we watch without blinking. Instead of living, we pose and post. Even while shitting, we scroll through feeds of celebrities of their drug use and diets. We are becoming masters of content curation, while entertaining ourselves.
We must stop: Confusing Digital Cheers For Connection:
We are living in times when technology has become a means for self expression. We are measuring our social currency in the number of likes and hearts our Instagram or Twitter posts receive. We are becoming masters of content generation and distribution, and our content curation skills are also on the rise. Cue, how many filters and retakes does that one perfect selfie get?
Likes, comments, shares – This is the Attention Economy that we live in. We are gathering this superficial social capital. Consequently, we are victims of the reinforcement paradigm. We are taking down pictures if they don’t get enough likes. Middle school kids post mostly after 5pm on Instagram, so they can get the most activity on their posts.
Are we becoming a generation of tech junkies giving props via likes and hearts to others’ artfully curated and crafted social media posts?
We must stop: Confusing Control For Intention
We own our phones, after all, we picked its color and we choose whether to respond to calls and texts. Its our choice, whether we allow ourselves the luxury of browsing the internet or let notifications pile up until we can get to them.
But are we really strategic and intentional with our use of time and technology?
For example, the ease and accessibility of a smart phone devices lets us steal moments and “save time” by cleaning up our inbox for the 5 minutes we’re waiting in line for coffee or the next subway train to arrive. But, how many of us really feel productive and efficient after doing that inbox cleanup which doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things and our long term goals?
Until we stop to reevaluate our priorities instead of combing over Netflix’s recommendations, our bucket list will not look very different. Here’s a question for you? Who’s in charge of your life, you or the device in your hands?