‘The Social Dilemma’ is a one of a kind, unnerving and eye-opening documentary on Netflix by Jeff Orlowski. It explains how our brains are manipulated by algorithms which are designed to grab our attention. Social media giants – Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Youtube are constantly trying to seduce us by pushing information and pinging us with notifications, rather cunningly only ones that interests us. They are continually monitoring us and keep us involved in an unresolvable social media matrix. The social media earning is directly proportional to the amount of time spent by us. But what are we to do of this dilemma now, that we know is making a product out of us?
1) Turn off Notifications
How many of us crave for more likes on our facebook or insta feed? An honest answer- almost all! Every time a picture on our feed is liked or commented on, we are notified and are seduced to check it. Push notifications from these social media sites or apps is where this madness, the sedition really starts. Subconsciously working its way to make the like into a gratification signal- one which is one of our primary needs: to be liked by people.
Ever checked your screen time? Now, if you’ve seen how much time you’ve lost so far; firstly – turn off notifications on website, app or email.
2) Dictate your screen time not vice versa
In times like ours, a screen time goal is also necessary if not vital. To keep your screen time in check would also mean how much you would want someone else to dictate your time! Rather than social media controlling you with notifications let us take charge by checking notifications on a will.
3) Don’t click the next video button on YouTube
Watching Youtube is a vicious circle. Even if we are satisfied after watching one, we are seduced with a second even if not required. Moreover, it is automatically played without even asking. This is like crossing a threshold and theory of diminishing marginal utility – every extra video will not yield desired result.
4) Let’s get out under the sky
In this artificial world of social media, we’ve sort of forgotten what outdoor hobbies are. Like seriously, when was the last time you chose a game of football, cricket, badminton over scrolling through YT! Now we even play cricket, football and even other outdoor games online. It’s a conscious choice, your choice that you have to make to choose to play without devices.
5) Make way for family time
Social media has been a catalyst in distancing us from our very own family members. With screens glowing up every face, we miss out on all the fun conversations, the heart melting and embarrassing childhood stories and so much more. Pick a time when everybody is off their devices and are gadget less. It could be for dinner or a fun evening of games.
6) No no no. Wait. Don’t delete the app yet!!
A hyped up us can make decisions without thinking through its consequences and our ability to deal with the consequences. Our social media accounts have come to sadly define us. Deleting them on a whim isn’t the right option, rather you could manage your screen time and see how that works for you. We know, “Limited use is a boon, overuse is bane.”
7) Fact check
Social media news spreads like wildfire. And even fire does not differentiate between real or fake news. Make it a point to always verify a piece of information before you pass it along to groups on WhatsApp or before tagging 10 more people on Instagram.
The green screen technology used behind commentators in any IPL game gives a fair glimpse of how technology can be used to showcase things in an artificial manner.
8) Click that ‘unsubscribe’ button
The age of information got man to Mars, or let’s say almost has. But nothing too much is good. And the same goes for the humongous amount of information we are bombarded with. When you open your Email, it’s like a flood in there. As let’s admit it, most of us just don’t bother to read 80 percent of the mails in there, all those newsletters and invitations and what not! Don’t sweat over FOMO. Find a way around it, but before that UNSUBSCRIBE.
9) Don’t let the younger ones be dragged in the puddle
AI thrives on us. The more users it gets, the better it gets at its job, which is to keep humans engaged. AI picks up on every click, save and touch function that we use. With time, the algorithm will be only getting better. It’s now that children need to be stopped from using social media. Of course, for educational purposes it’s a boon, but parental controls are in place for a reason. We sincerely hope in your best interest you use them! Understand that children as of now cannot think for themselves but we can. They’ll thank you later.
10) Ecommerce trap
How many of us have ended up buying things, we would have completely been happy without? No purchases are better than any sale or other discounted purchases. These cash burn sales have manipulated our lifestyles to an extent that’s beyond imagination. We are addicted to the things which are unaffordable or are not remotely needed.
So next time you scroll, think wisely, don’t scroll!