how social media drastically affects us
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how social media drastically affects us


With love and care, Prometheus molded humanity
out of clay. But, humanity was weak, and they suffered
greatly. To empower us in our struggle against nature,
Prometheus stole a divine technology from the gods and gifted it to us: fire. Prometheus had defied the gods in service
of humanity; he defied the strong to serve the weak. But defiance and change come at a price, and
the powerful do not always submit without a fight. Prometheus was bound to a rock for eternity,
where upon an eagle would descend upon him each day and eat his liver. In generation after generation, the spirit
of Prometheus returns to us and brings us fire. Fire has the capacity to keep us warm and
cook our food, but it also has capacity to create weapons and destroy us. We continually have to learn how to master
it and use it carefully, or we risk self-destruction. In today’s essay, we explore the latest
reincarnation of this story: social media. Edward Lytton said that “the pen is mightier
than the sword.” Ideas have a greater potental at changing
the world than force. It’s only in defence of our ideas, or our
beliefs, that we choose to raise swords in the first place. For generations, ideas were limited to transmission
by books. Books are limited in time and space. There’s a limit to how fast they can spread
ideas. But, the internet travels at the speed of
light. The rate at which ideas can now spread is
unprecedented. If the pen is mightier than the sword, is
the internet mightier than the bomb? And, if ideas truly are more powerful than
force, we should use them constructively and not destructively — in so far as that’s
possible. While the entirety of the internet is worth
discussing, today we’re going to be looking at a more basic, yet universal, aspect of
it: social media. A report done by the Royal Society for Public
Health states that social media usage is associated with increased rates of anxiety, depression,
poor sleep quality, body image issues, and cyberbullying. In fact, rates of anxiety and depression in
young people have increased by 70% in the last 25 years. Body image issues are a problem for both genders,
but 9 in 10 teenage girls say that they are unhappy with their body. 7 out of 10 teens have experienced cyberbullying
and 37% say they experience it very frequently. The report found that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
and Snapchat have an overall negative effect on the well-being of the younger generation. For this reason, people are increasingly deciding
to take a break from social media or walk away completely. The benefits are often not worth the costs. But, social media also helps us express ourselves,
connect with others, and get access to high-quality information. Youtube, for example, was found to have a
net positive effect on well-being and even help those who feel anxious, depressed, or
lonely. Although, it still has its fair share of downsides. Social media also plays an important role
in activism such as in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Oppressive regimes often try to prevent and
control the flow of information, so they can control the people. Social media can be leveraged to bypass this
sort of totalitarian control. Whether you think social media is good or
bad, you’re right. It’s a flame, and we’re still learning
to contain and master it. But, the current dialogue about social media
is very low resolution. People shouldn’t have to leave these revolutionary
technologies behind, but they also shouldn’t suffer negative impacts to their well-being
by using them. Social media is often referred to as a tool,
and it is. Tools are things that help us accomplish goals. But, this low-resolution comparison is actually
pretty misleading. Social media is a tool, but it’s not a tool
in the same way a hammer is. It’s much more like a city. Think about how much land there is on the
Earth. But, we choose to live in relatively small
areas of land called cities. A city is a high density container for social
interactions; it allows us to get anything we need or want easier than we would if we
had to do it alone. Cities are like living tools or organisms:
they grow, evolve, and even die. Think about how many webpages there are on
the worldwide web. But, we all choose to occupy a relatively
small set of them called social media. Social media sites are also high density containers
for social interactions. So, if we want to understand social media,
we should start by understanding cities. A city is made up of two worlds: a world of
ideas and a world of technology. The world of ideas is the world of culture. Culture contains stories, myths, or narratives
that unite the people, describe what they value, and prescribe how to act. Take the founding myth of Rome for example. Most variations of the myth say that Romulus
killed his own brother, Remus, in order to found Rome. One interpretation of this myth is that it’s
a reminder to the Romans that the glory of Rome is more important than even the love
for your own brother. The world of ideas and values manifests itself
in the technology of the city. The technology embodies the story and helps
perpetuate it. Technology makes the story easier to live
out. Growing up in Sparta would have been way different
from growing up in Athens. In one, the highest ideal was the soldier. The entire city was designed to facilitate
the achievement of this ideal. In the other, the highest ideal is something
like the well-educated citizen, and the city was designed to faciliate the achievement
of this ideal. Sparta might have had more barracks and training
grounds, while Athens might have had more schools. Of course, it’s likely that the true culture
and technology of each city is more nuanced than I am making it out to be, but this is
just to demonstrate a point: every city is built upon a story. Citizens that are born or live in that city
learn this story, explicity or implicitly, so that they can grow and thrive. A good story is useful to us; it helps us
act in a way that is beneficial. Technology makes certain actions easier. When certain actions become easier, the story
they are a part of becomes more believable. The person who controls the story controls
the people, and with the right technology, certain stories are easier to believe. If social media is a city, what story is it
built on? If Sparta is designed to produce soldiers
and Athens to produce well-educated citizens, what is social media designed to produce? I think the answer is the consumer. Social media tries to produce individuals
who watch everything, read everything, and click on everything — that is their highest
ideal. This story is probably best embodied in a
technology you’re familiar with: the newsfeed. Newsfeeds are designed to watch your interactions
and maximize the amount of time you spend on them. They do this by adapting to you. To evolve, they continually have to give us
novel stimuli and see how we react to it. In other words, they are always presenting
us with the unknown. Humans have an interesting relationship with
the unknown. We are drawn to it. We need to categorize it. The unknown always presents an opportunity
for reward and growth, but it also presents an opportunity for punishment and death. You see, humans have an innate negativity
bias. Negative things capture our attention more
than positive things. This is because negative things can end us,
while positive things can just make our lives better. Threatening things weigh heavier on our mind
than the non-threatening. Because newsfeeds are optimized for attention,
their default experience — over the long run — is often a negative one. When you’re continually presented with new
information, the negative and threatening stuff will always capture your attention more
than the positive stuff. What people find threatening varies from person
to person. You might focus on whether people are better
looking than you, stronger than you, smarter than you, work harder, are more talented,
or you may be drawn to fake news. Since we often spend more time analyzing and
assessing threat, we pay more attention to it, and we get recommended similar things
more and more on our newsfeeds. As a result, our newsfeeds often become vicious
cycles of negativity and comparison interspersed with the occasional reward. So, how do we solve this problem? Because it was the only social medium shown
to have a net-positive effect on the youth, I think we should look to YouTube for some
answers. The one thing that I think makes YouTube vastly
different from every other platform is its search capability. Before YouTube became the big social medium
it is, it was first and foremost a search engine. In order to create a successful search engine,
you have to take massive amounts of unorganized information and organize it. By doing this, YouTube made a much more ordered
experience for us, the users. We could type in the thing we valued or the
topic we were interested in and find a community based on that. I believe it’s the amount of control that
YouTube gives us over our experience that makes it more positive. We search for a topic that we’re interested
in and find a video that we like. We see that the channel that made it produces
more content on that topic. We subscribe to that channel. We start to build a subscription feed that
is purely based on our interests and values. Our newsfeed monitors our searches, subscriptions,
and video history and offers us more recommendations based on that. The YouTube experience largely revolves around
our interests and values. It gives us a lot more control in directing
our attention from the start. You can always search new things, subscribe
and unsubscribe, and restructure the whole experience around your new interests and values. The YouTube culture has always been about
creating community. This is way different from every other social
media because most of your connections on those platforms are based on location, school,
work, or other random variables. The default experience on most other platforms
is being told what to look at and the culture is often dominated by status and image. So, how can we apply this lesson to other
social media platforms? Social media sites are digital cities. Their workers are like the governing bodies. And, as the citizens, I think we should have
the tools to make digital homes. A digital home is an ordered experience that
you’ve made for yourself based on your interests and values. It should be the default experience. When the chaotic novelty of newsfeeds are
the default experience, without any tools to bring order to them, I argue that we’ll
always have a negative experience in the long run. Newsfeeds are designed to create consumers. A digital home would be designed to further
your development. Let me give you an example of creating a digital
home. On Twitter, I have everyone muted. My newsfeed is blank and useless. Instead, I have everyone organized into lists
based on why I follow them. Some people I follow for art, some for philosophy,
and some because their friends. The default experience when I log into Twitter
isn’t to have a bunch of things recommended to me based on what Twitter thinks will capture
my attention, instead it’s my choice to pick which list I want to read. The mute and list functions are incredibly
powerful in bypassing the default newsfeed and constructing something like a digital
home on Twitter. I think it’s important to bypass the newsfeed
as the default experience on every social media, as much as its possible, and focus
on creating a digital home based on your interests and values. And, I think it’s important that social
media companies give us the tools to make this possible. Because, without these tools, we lose control,
and without control, our attention no longer belongs to us.

100 thoughts on “how social media drastically affects us

  1. About 7 minutes in you have a really good point about negativity. I hadn't thought about it in that manner and it makes total sense. Thanks for the good video.

  2. Thanks! Because of youtube i found this video. Youtube is great given that u don't search up dumb shit ( u reap what u sow)

  3. As usual, this was a great video with lots of applied philosophy. I have also tailored my Facebook feed in the way you segregated your Twitter. However, on Facebook I cannot group posts but I follow many science and philosophy pages. Further, liking individual articles pushes that kind of content up on my feed. You have to game the algorithm.

  4. We live in a city that puts an emphasis on value. Whoever can bring more value through entertainment, money, innovation, impact are more likely to suceed.

  5. how can you turn facebook and instagram into digital homes using their features? i use them the most for work, but when i'm not working i end up stuck on my news feed

  6. how can you turn facebook and instagram into digital homes using their features? i use them the most for work, but when i'm not working i end up stuck on my news feed

  7. hey is there any app where i can do the list type thing but for instagram? i find it really helpfull, i cant find anything usefull 🙁

  8. Idea…save water, use dirt. Save your liver, sacrifice your blood….be yourself, not a copy of another stalking dumbass.

  9. Even though YouTube is the best platform, I think it can still consume a large chunk of your time (more than you'd like).

    That's why I recommend taking 2 steps to better control of your YT usage:

    1. Bookmark the following page on your browser:

    https://www.youtube.com/feed/history

    Every time you want to go on YT, click on this page, and don't allow yourself to go on the homepage. That way, you won't' be distracted by all the recommendations.

    2. Turn off all notifications from your subscriptions.

  10. I don't use any other social media than youtube. But already here I miss the opportunity to organise my videos better.
    Damn I'm again really happy not to have facebook & co

  11. Speaking of YouTube, YouTube randomly suggested this to me. I am so glad it did. I would have to say I’ve had a positive experience because of it.

  12. Weird thing is , I never got into Twitter, but I do with Facebook to the point where I spend half my day on it. But now I tried being less in it. (Limit myself to one day a week) i find Facebook to be just another Twitter.

    What I use the most right now are Reddit YouTube and messenger. And I found it less anxiety inducing than facebook

  13. Deleted Facebook after having it deactivated for a year on a whim of a decision to detach myself from needing to feel like I needed others to recognize me and my thoughts. Shortly after Instagram went with it. Best decision I’ve ever made, my true friends still have kept up with my through direct text messages, and that’s where I want it. The internet is a place where people show their best side only and people hide behind the anonymity of it or the protection of distance.

  14. The biggest drawback of any social media is its inherent algorithm to show you the content in which you are interested. This creates a strong bubble as any opinion a person has regarding anything is conveniently justified to him.

  15. thank you for speaking about the lists feature! didn’t know it was there, i think it’s about to revolutionize my twitter experience!

  16. You cant control the internet, everyone is addicted to it including me. There are no rules, and being evil is so easy, some can go too far. Sure there are some benefits too, but from the things ive read and seen, the internet is such an evil place. Its a drug that everyone is on, everyday, all the time, everywhere. Humanity is going to a weird place.

  17. Rid yourself of social media by working on yourself. That's the only long term way. Become a creator. Don't be a sheep.

  18. Yeah that's a horrible idea. You basically wanna live in a bubble and never be exposed to other ideas. That sounds even worse than the current implimentation that social media is using.

  19. "If the pen is mightier than the sword, is the internet mightier than the bomb?"
    That's a very nice and provocative phrase. Nice video!

  20. Me?…
    only have Youtube on my Phone & Steam on PC…
    Facebook? Instagram? etc?… nope i don't have one of those,
    but i feel pure & clean for some reason…
    Note: i only care about my Game, not what people post on FB & IG…

  21. The Egyptian revolution was largely fueled by the US's manipulation of social media in the area attempting to bolster support for it.

  22. This is really profound. I wish there was a way to meet people that have similar values and interests based on computer analyzed youtube history.

  23. I have never even touched Twitter, i only used Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and luckily i did get rid of the last two years ago, which rewarded me with an amazing feeling of freedom and happiness.

    Instagram is definitely the worst of those three. That beast is so fucked up right now, it alone contributes to most of those problems explained in this video. Trying to cater to young (and "young-at-heart") consumers who think they can live as "amazing lives as the others they follow", only for the sad truth to hit them as soon it becomes apparent that nobody's perfect, and they are not capable of living the same lives as their peers and the celebs they follow (who honestly are not living perfect lives either)
    I believe it makes people into mindless zombies – "slaves to the cause" or something like that. I am definitely glad that i got rid of that app as the first one. My advice to everybody is to stay away from that one at least…

  24. One major difference, imho between YouTube and other social media is that you can pay for a subscription that, among other things, removes all the advertising (except what a creator has intentionally put in their own video) this is such a major change in dynamic it really shouldn’t be ignored.

  25. There is another problem with just seeing what you "want to see" on your news feed: You rarely get confronted with other perspectives than your own, so you might not question what you believe, even if it is actually "fake news".

  26. What a waffly video. The constant comparisons to ancient Rome were never analogous to the subject matter. How has a story about stealing something from gods got anything to do with social media? None of it is relevant except the fire analogy at 0:50. The city analogy was also ropy at best. And to praise YouTube for creating a community feel is a joke. It's made for consuming videos, not social interaction. That's the reason there's no friends list, and that's the reason people here don't get miserable comparing themselves to others. A waffly video gilded with some very weak points.

  27. If Sparta is designed to produce soldiers and Athens is to produce well educated citizens, then Facebook is to produce memes.

  28. Hey guys any recommendations regarding on how to make social media apps more productive? As the example of twitter in the video.

  29. I also created list instead of relying on the feed but I ended not using it as it was difficult to know which count was related with the content. What tool do you use to create those list?
    Also I would LOVE to know your opinion on Whatsapp, as people overuse it I am having the same problem as on Instagram or other social accounts or even worse as I use for work and I work remotely…

  30. I have always enjoyed your content and this one is definitely one of the best. Continue making more such videos. Thank you.

  31. I think the big difference between YouTube and Instagram is that on YouTube you subscribe to content, whereas on Instagram you subscribe to opinions (most of the time). On YouTube nobody cares about what you do or watch and it's much more difficult to "build relationships". On Instagram most of the time we expect someone to follow us back or to like our pictures or comments.

  32. Creating "homes" on social media is a dangerous proposition too. While you avoid the super normal stimuli of the web at large, you very often use it to shout into the void and create your own echo chamber. Journalists typically only follow one another, and when they do they get the mistaken notion that what they're reporting is the news when it's a perception of what MIGHT be the news. The best way to get rid of social media is to have a cultural insistence that it's a low class, dirty and corrupt enterprise.

  33. If u just stop using SM for 10-20 days
    U believe that nobody is dying without u.
    U r just a liker or Commenter for them, somebody gonna replace u.
    Don't available Everytime for everyone ⚡

  34. These days in my experience at least interactions in YouTube comments sections are way more productive than ones on Twitter.

  35. I really enjoy the the concept that you explore in this video, the duality of one thing, being or concept (in this case: social media), and in this case not only how it can keep us alive or destroy us, but also it can be controlled or control us, i thin it's the same reason why i've got 2 accounts for youtube, one is for entertainment, and the other is for a more minimalist life (which is the one i'm using), the one is to consume, while the other is for betterment and (hopefully) to produce, which is something that i'm surely doing here by writing this comment, because i don't like to just leave a "cool video, keep the good work", but posting an opinion which i can consider "food for thought", or at least a question for the creator about making certain projects or constructive criticismb by doing this i know i'm contributing to the betterment of something (if of course i'm right).

  36. Good contents on youtube are much more than we get through googling. But when in need of a fast information, don't think youtube to always be the solution

  37. One matter came to my mind now .. the way in which the Social media is penetrating in all spheres of life .. we should better call it .. "Social Mania".

  38. People use the word internet way too much, I mean it is a part of our lives that has always been there. Why people be like they know what it’s like to live without it?!

  39. Your all videos makes me happy to see. I wasted my most of time in using phones, but now I working to control it.
    Respect your all staff for make these amazing videos. 💓

  40. YouTube is a social network but it's the easiest fire to master. That's why I never felt the need to quit.

  41. by locking ourselves in chambers of our own values and interests keeps us stuck and prevents us from learning anything beyond it, so it's not a good thing at all and that's the main benefit??

  42. There are 4 lifesaving essential Channels: this one, practical psychology, charisma on command and improvement pill. Try this 4 everyday and you will open your perspective of yourself vs the world. Every aspect of my life dramatically improved since I made this channels a habit

  43. I gave up all social media 2 years ago. I no longer have to read and see all the people post
    .

  44. Fact #1- Some people in instagram, facebook, or tweeter only wants attention.
    Fact #2- Some people in Facebook post contents such as news, vdieos, or photos, even if not validated or confirmed if it is photoshop or edited, and sadly some idiots will believe it instantly and react. hahaha

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