After buying a new cellphone yesterday, the first thing I did was set the phone in such a way that it could help me become a more productive person, not the other way around.
I turn off all notifications on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media. I only turn on notifications for important things like WhatsApp and Gojek (there is often a chat from the driver, right). I also limit the use of social media between 5 or 10 minutes, and after that, the application will be paused automatically, and I can't open them again until the next day.
The result? Maybe I can't really feel the effects on my productivity because I'm currently on vacation, but it's obvious that I feel more relax and "more present". I can choose what I want to read and watch without any recommendations from Netflix or Google.
I recently watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, which is really cool. In my opinion, everyone, especially those who often interact on social media, really need to watch this one.
In the documentary, many social media engineers explain how social media works. How does social media get money? We don't spend a dime to be able to use that service, right? But companies need money. They need profit. That's inevitable.
And there is a quote that quitely answers this question,
"If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product."
They sell and even auction our attention to the biggest paying advertisers. The longer we stare at our screen, using their service, the more profitable it is for them.
The biggest reason for our addiction to social media is not because we can't control ourselves, but because engineers designed it to be addicting, intentionally. They know that they are manipulating us psychologically, and they continue to do so. After all, the business must keep going, and the shareholders must be satisfied.
Everything that exists and appears as recommendations on social media is not a coincidence but is indeed the result of the design made by engineers so that we click again and again, so that more ads can be sold. Social media is like a magician who seems to give us the freedom to choose what we want to see when in fact, everything has been arranged.
Social media has also been designing us so that if we feel uneasy, afraid, or stressed, we feel that we have our own digital tranquilizer and continue scrolling to get that feeling of comfort again.
Of course, there are some things we can do so we don't get too used to it, by limiting ourselves, being fully aware of what we choose to see, and not following the recommendations too much. Do dopamine detox every few weeks to keep us sane.
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