Reclaim your life

I know you love your smartphone more than you should — but this is not your fault really.

Between 2010 and 2012, Facebook made two changes that kicked off our smartphone addiction. Here they are:

1. Before 2010, everybody on Facebook had a ‘wall.’ Anything I posted, would go to my wall. If you wanted to see what I was up to, you would come to my wall and view it.

So Facebook browsing was an active process and you chose the content you were exposed to.

But post-2010, Facebook changed – instead of a wall we now got the ‘News feed.’ Now you did not decide what content you saw – Facebook’s algorithm did.

From all the content out there, the algorithm would pull the content most likely to keep you hooked, even if it negatively impacted your mental health or enraged you. And that content would come to your newsfeed.

All of us became passive consumers of whatever ‘the algorithm’ decided to show us.

Once you add the ‘infinite scroll’ (which came later), we could now browse mindlessly and indefinitely. Other social platforms also copied this and our transformation from a human to a zombie was complete.

2. The other major change was Facebook’s introduction of the ‘Like’ button. Facebook did not invent it but it was the first to popularize it.

As simple as it sounds, the ‘Like’ button changed something fundamentally. Before the like button, you went to Facebook to see what others were up to. But now, you were more curious about how many people liked your vacation picture!

Since we all crave social validation, we absolutely love to know who all liked our picture – it is practically irresistible. That is why, after you post a picture, you click again and again.

The more you click, the more advertisements you see. The more ads you see, the more money Facebook makes.

Is it any surprise that you can’t resist your phone?

The end result was that Facebook’s revenue shot up and we lost control over our life.

Don’t be a passive target of an algorithm – fight back and reclaim your life. Every day counts.

– Rajan

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