We are all just products when it comes to social media: Ken Wood

We’re all simply merchandise with regards to social media: Ken Wooden

Visitor columnist Ken Wooden is a former journalist and present director of communications for Boys & Ladies Golf equipment of Northeast Ohio and a Footpath Basis board member. He’s a graduate of Bowling Inexperienced State College.

Her face glowed because the likes and optimistic feedback stuffed the display.

Everybody beloved the teenager’s selfie. Or so it appeared. The regular rhythm of likes, loves and replies like “lovely” and “gorgeous’ was abruptly interrupted by a follower making enjoyable of her ears.

You may virtually see the enjoyment drain from her physique as she learn the remark.

Her smile abruptly flattened. Her spirit was crushed. Inside minutes, she was wanting within the mirror and touching the edges of her head.

In a heartbeat, the responses to a single social media put up had seemingly gone from elevating the woman’s shallowness to dismantling it.

This incident is a dramatization from the documentary “The Social Dilemma.” However there isn’t any doubt social media interactions like this one are on the root of psychological misery throughout the globe.

Social media is designed to be addictive, not that will help you develop into a greater individual or remedy issues. And it’s placing our youngsters in danger.

“The Social Dilemma” was an eye-opener for me. For transparency, I exploit a lot of the social media platforms for my work and am liable for producing content material. Many in our audiences rely solely on social media for information, and it could be irresponsible to easily flip off the spigot.

However can we a minimum of re-examine what that is all about? I’ll attempt an analogy.

Cigarettes have little doubt helped forge friendships amongst people who smoke as restrictions funnel them to most of the similar locations. That doesn’t imply cigarettes exist to domesticate friendships. They exist to become profitable off repeat gross sales — i.e. habit.

Equally, whereas social media has reconnected previous associates, unfold heartwarming tales and even helped legislation enforcement observe down criminals, that was by no means its goal. It’s designed to maintain you engaged, addicted and, finally, monetized.

“The Social Dilemma” left me with much more questions than solutions. However listening to clear warning photographs from the very individuals who designed and applied the preferred social media platforms — they’re interviewed extensively within the documentary — makes me consider we will’t simply keep the course.

In response to the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies, kids and adolescents who spend greater than three hours a day on social media face double the danger of psychological well being issues, together with experiencing signs of melancholy and nervousness.

Twelve-and-a-half is the common age at which a child opens a social media account.

Adults are additionally being impacted. An inner Fb report in 2018 said that 64 % of the individuals who joined extremist teams on Fb did so as a result of the algorithms steered them there.

So the place can we flip?

Authorities — in gentle of a number of the current testimony earlier than Congress — is unlikely to resolve the issue and extra more likely to politicize it.

And whereas tech firms have taken child steps by recognizing the problem, they’re disinclined to discover a significant resolution.

A smart individual as soon as instructed me one thing to this impact: “If you happen to aren’t paying for the product, you’re the product.”

For starters, we will all attempt to determine use social media with out inflicting ourselves psychological hurt. The nonprofit Heart for Humane Expertise suggests the next:

• Take management of your tech use by silencing notifications, limiting the apps on which you’re spending an excessive amount of time, creating no-phone zones and scheduling time away out of your telephone every day.

• Rebuild your consideration span by practising mindfulness and meditation.

• Spend time exterior. Time in nature can decrease cortisol ranges, enhance sleep and cut back stress.

• Socialize with out social media by becoming a member of a health group, guide membership or native meetup. The thought is to discover a connection away out of your telephone.

The band R.E.M. included the anti-materialism anthem “King of Comedy” on its Monster album in 1994, nicely earlier than the institution of the social media platforms which might be thriving at the moment. The tune ends with Michael Stipe and firm chanting, “I’m not commodity, I’m not commodity.”

Within the social media realm, that’s precisely what you’re.

Readers are invited to submit Opinion web page essays on matters of regional or normal curiosity. Ship your 500-word essay for consideration to Ann Norman at anorman@cleveland.com. Essays should embody a short bio and headshot of the author. Essays rebutting at the moment’s matters are additionally welcome.

Author: ZeroToHero

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