”Some poor, phoneless fool is probably sitting next to a waterfall somewhere totally unaware of how angry and scared he’s supposed to be.” -Duncan Trussell
We all get baited into clicking on content that makes us angry, or fuels “our side” of a contentious topic. The problem is that once you start engaging with “rage bait” content (politics, culture war, news, etc) the social media algorithms, which aren’t that bright yet, assume this is ALL you want to see.
You feeds begin filling up with content that contributes to a few things. First your anger obviously. But secondly you begin to get a sense that the issues/viewpoints you are seeing are MUCH more prevalent and you are more “correct” than they/you actually are. You start to fall into the trap of “echo chambers”, where you become insulated from opposing views, which makes you less informed and less able to intelligently develop your opinions.
For example: If you engage with content showing that your political side is correct to the point of all other points being wrong (or worse, evil), that is what the algorithms will drop into your home screens and suggestions. This causes the following
- You begin to believe your opinions represent the majority
- You begin to see those who disagree with you as, at best stupid and uniformed, at worst inhuman monsters
- You begin to lose empathy for anyone who holds an opposing view
- You miss out on the opposing side, which may provide valuable context and information to truly understanding the issue (you get dumber)
Make a conscious decision to engage with the internet positively. Your feeds will begin believing this is what you want. You will be happier, your feeds will be uplifting instead of angering, and you will incentivize the algorithms to make you happy instead of rage farming you. The people fighting back and forth online over the issues of the day are a small minority of people that represent nobody, nor are they representative of even their side.
Oh, and no, I’m not on your political “side” attacking the uninformed stance and tactics of the other. I am talking to you!