The state of social media

Advice on how to regain control over social media, looking through another perspective, the reality of COVID-19, and Trump's denial

Hi friend,

In the past few weeks, my “day” job has consumed most of my life. I’ve been working all day and night prepping for a major launch of a new product, clocking-in anywhere from 60-80 hours a week. With that, I’ve been neglecting many things in my life, especially my social media channels.

Previously, I wrote about re-evaluating my relationship with social media and in my absence, I’ve been thinking a lot more about these platforms.

Since joining Xanga and MySpace in the early 2000s, I have always been a huge proponent of the diversity and connectedness of these social platforms. But during this absence, I realized how much these platforms have been draining my time and manipulating my emotions.

Browsing has become too easy, with hours disappearing into a void, and replying with emotionally-charged comments has become too convenient, when heated discussions seem to grace our screen quite often. 

After some thinking, here are some thoughts and advice on social media:

Social media platforms do not have our best interests in mind.

These companies are focused on revenue earned by… yup, our attention. Brands pay millions of dollars to get in front of their target demographics on social media platforms. To take it a step further, these companies have created algorithms that analyze every image, video, and word we respond to. When we spend hours writing that single comment or replaying that one video multiple times, these metrics are saved and influence the likelihood of another similar post or comment appearing in our feed.

We must take an active role in shaping our newsfeeds if we are to continue using it.

If there is a type of content that makes us feel terrible, we should refrain from commenting, browsing, or sharing it. On the flip side, we should be actively engaging and promoting the content we want to see more of.

In addition...

Our content is being scraped and immortalized on external databases.

Companies, such as Clearview AI, archive photos from social media and place it in a repository for other companies and law enforcement officers to use. There are thousands of other companies doing the same thing without our permission to do so. Not only should we be conscious of what we post from a privacy perspective, but we should also be conscious of the longevity of our content. Are the things we post today going to look alright five or ten years later?

To top off that scrape...

Not everyone is real.

Every single day, hundreds of thousands of accounts on social media platforms are created by bots. They create automated posts and comments improving engagement or shaping particular narratives*. Most have robust profiles and look no different than any other user.

The next time we are compelled to react to a post or comment, we should consider the fact that it may very well be a machine. The more we can safeguard our time and energy, we can invest it toward more impactful things for the greater world around us.

Do these things resonate?


Through the looking glass

Window Swap lets you look outside another window somewhere else in the world. I love the perspective it provides.

The reality of COVID-19

"The morning you die, I don't want to be there — like most mornings now, when I rise against my whole will and crawl dejectedly into scrubs. I don't want to be a plague doctor or a hero on TV. Now on the news, White men hold guns and signs that say 'live free or die' to protest the lockdown. I imagine what they will look like dying on vents in ICUs staffed by doctors lacking sleep and proper training, soaked in moral fatigue." A perspective of COVID by the New England Journal of Medicine.

In denial

“Trump’s commentary of late has been dizzying and visceral. He has referred to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated in China, as the “kung flu.” He has called racial justice demonstrators “thugs.” He has attacked efforts to take down Confederate statues as an assault on “our heritage.” And in an ominous hypothetical scenario, he described a “very tough hombre” breaking into a young woman’s home while her husband was away.” Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him by The Washington Post.

If that wasn’t bad enough, take a look at Trump’s four-minute interview with Chris Wallace in denial about COVID-19, election polls, funding, and the future.

As always, thanks for reading!

P.S. If you enjoyed this, share or sign up here: mindfulmoments.substack.com

Anything else? You can always hit "reply" to email me directly. 💌

Have a beautiful day!

Metta (loving-kindness),
Steven

Yellow Glitter Podcast | IG | YT | FB | TW | StevenWakabayashi.com