The helpless individual in today’s shallow Internet society

It’s odd that we can watch over 10-30 minutes of videos with ease and silence but don’t have the patience to listen to someone for but two minutes in physical life. On the other hand, when we put thoughts out on the Internet ourselves, we let the faceless algorithms decide what we speak and how so.

How can a single human in its most organic form possibly compete for our attention against an entire economy built to grab it? Heck, we have even veneered such demons of our “modern” Internet with formal names: the attention economy, binge-watching, doom-scrolling, and so on.

It’s not fair to say that people are using social media wrongly. That “if only we utilize social media in sensible ways, it’s a good thing.” When global conglomerates hire fleets of smart people whose entire collective job is to exploit deep-rooted psychological behaviors from our evolution, a lone human is powerless and vulnerable.

This was not the Internet’s promise. To become yet another tool for mass manipulation. But perhaps it’s us, the hopeful tenants of the open Web, who are naive. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that if the attention algorithms are the strings that bind us, it’s largely a puppet show.

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