Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

The Unconscious Influence of Social Media - What I Realized

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For the last two weeks I had holidays. Actually, but not really, because I didn’t really notice much of the holidays. Christmas and New Year’s Eve were, and most people spent their time at this time of the year, with their eating and sitting around.

But my mother and I did a lot of things in the apartment to be able to rent a room soon. Clear cabinets, throw away old magazines, paint walls. There was little time left for Internet and social media.

And now that we’re done with most of the work, I realize what kind of unconscious influence social media has in our (my) life.

Suddenly the suggested articles on Medium seem so uninteresting to me, the pictures on Instagram so posed and generally everything so strange. It’s like I’m using my cell phone as someone else and I’m thinking about all the crap I’m looking at. It’s like my filter bubble burst.

But why? Here’s my theory:

The social media’s recommendations show us what we must like according to numerous algorithms. Because our friends like it, because we have seen similar content before and because it’s trendy.

If we also see that the best friend likes the post, then we come into a kind of compulsion to think that we also like it and then we really believe in it.

But if we haven’t been online for some time, if we have experienced something different than just the recommendations in social media, then there are strange effects.

Suddenly we start to question why this particular article is recommended. Why do I keep seeing articles about productivity or writing? Why am I only now realizing that most of the recommendations are actually clickbait, but I used to click like crazy in the past?

Social media not only unconsciously influences our interests, what we like, but also our behaviour. We always think we have to follow the latest trend and get upset about what the whole Twitter community is upset about.

For example, due to my stress I experienced the scandal about Jake Paul more by chance in a YouTube video. If I’d been online more often, I wouldn’t have missed it.

But quite honestly, often that’s what we waste our time with in social networks, actually total bullshit. How does the upset about the Paul brothers bring us further into life?

We should rather use social media instead of senseless sprinkling to get closer to our goals, to build relationships and lead a better life.

It’s too bad to spend time dealing with trash, isn’t it?

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Jan-Lukas Else
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