Regain the autonomy of reading
▼ ▼ ▼
Netflix recently released a documentary, Social Dilemma, literally "Social Dilemma," in which several tech executives who have worked for big Internet companies share how Internet companies use data and algorithms to guide user behavior, gaining more attention and pushing more ads.
This documentary fits with some of the ideas expressed in an article I wrote about human beings putting themselves in a predicament through their own invented programs, our lives and programs are so closely integrated, guided, restricted, that even those who invent them are in this network, and no one can escape.
Netflix documentaries focus more on how social software guides human behavior, and Internet companies collect data and design algorithmic models to understand a person, tailoring information for him and directing him to consume it. Most of the services provided by Internet companies are free, and we are able to enjoy free Internet services, most of the time because Internet companies do not make money directly from users, but from advertisers, and users contribute attention. For a person, attention is his most valuable resource, no matter who, only 24 hours a day and a certain amount of attention resources. It's essentially a limited resource, and once you swipe Twitter, you can't spend that time watching movies or doing other things. Predictably, internet companies will become increasingly competitive with users' limited attention resources.
Of course, it's not just well-known social software such as WeChat, Shake It Off, YouTube and Twitter, but Gmail-like messaging software is also trying to get people to use it more through designs. I have a deep understanding of this, in the United States a lot of times use mail, every morning have to check the mailbox, make sure that some things are not lost, of course, more often there will be some advertising push, such as this "in the xx platform your friend xx sent a photo, please click on the link to view", read this documentary, I realized why the mail does not directly show this photo. It's a boot strategy, and when you click on that link to the platform, you might unknowingly slide it, and then ten minutes pass. Silicon Valley has a position called Growth Hacker that studies every day how to get more users at a smaller cost, designing software features for human weaknesses and making users more addicted to their products.
This is an age of information explosion, but the real value of knowledge has not increased much, and the information that catches our eye every day is often of little value. For example, when I started writing this article, the current president of the United States tested positive for the new crown, you can see at home and abroad on any social media platform, they are repeated, you can also see in the circle of friends, Twitter, Reddit, all kinds of comments, teasing, pranks and so on, and may also actively and passively brush for a few minutes. But think about it, such a news accounts for a huge share of our access to information, but this simple fact is actually very small for the actual value of the average person, and what we see is a lot of guesswork, estimation, flirtation, and emotional expression based on this simple fact. After reading it, you don't know what this fact means, maybe it doesn't affect you at all, but when you see all the media reporting and commenting, you feel like you know something, and after a few weeks, you may completely forget about it.
This is news in the age of social media, the basic facts are few, but the amount of information is huge, and the time is very short, to put it another way is "busy". The media will certainly not let go of such news, because it can get traffic and attention, but in addition to this simple fact there is no more detailed information, so they comment, deconstruct, tease, re-create; The media and the public continue to pursue the next hot spot. And really valuable analysis is either lagging behind, or the frequency is very low, the content is very long, the public has no patience and no interest in reading.
Modern people's daily access to information in most cases in a passive state, that is, the platform push what to see, what is the front page headlines to see what, people think they have a choice, in fact, many times the algorithm will adjust the weight and order shown to you. This gives a false sense of enrichment, but actually undermines people's reading autonomy. From the reading habits, the current mode of information flow of the contemporary mainstream platform also consumes people's patience to a certain extent, the way the human brain interprets the text and information flow of books is conflicting, the book is a systematic mesh structure, and the short flat flow of information is a distraction structure, the brain is immersed in understanding the book system and long articles, but the information flow needs to be constantly transferred and refreshed attention. Once you get used to brushing social networking sites and never train to read, you gradually lose your ability to understand things that are deep and abstract into a system.
So the best reading strategy in modern times is actually to read less news, and more long-lasting articles and books, a simple criterion is to read the time of the article, if you think an article or a book in a year, five years or even ten years later is still valuable to you can read more, and "the President of the United States infected with the virus", "the dollar exchange rate fell" this kind of news to understand the facts, if there is a more in-depth analysis of this fact can be read, For example, an article introduces a systematic description of how america's power agencies work, what the electoral system is like, and so on, and something like "Shock!" Europe is over, the United States is panicking, China may be the biggest winner! "Such an article should not be read, easy to cause intellectual damage.
In the choice of reading materials, if you want to deeply understand some problems, you need to read classic books, such as to understand the political system, you need to read classic political and social science books; Chinese newspapers also have very good news reports and long articles, I once read a few years ago published in December 2007 in the South Zhou article, the title is called "System", this article is very exciting and predictable, this kind of article is not out of date today, but in recent years for various reasons such articles are becoming less and less.
Many years ago, in the blogo age, people got information on the Internet through RSS subscriptions, which were more autonomous, but with the rise of large platforms, this approach has become less popular. RSS still exists, and there are still a lot of RSS software to meet the needs of the niche. China's strict control of public information, not long ago (late September 2020) Apple in the country APP Store under the shelf of several RSS subscription software, I can not remember this is the first time Apple because of "relevant laws and regulations" off the shelf similar software, this time once again confirmed my view: Internet companies and government cooperation will be censored to a new level. Aaron Swartz, the son of the Internet, was involved in the development of RSS, essentially hoping that the Internet's information would flow freely, but then the Internet developed in a departure from the will of Internet pioneers like Aaron, who preferred to control the masses by controlling information and algorithms, and the once-free Internet accelerated humanity's path to slavery.
As ordinary people can't make too many changes to the power of government and big companies, but one thing that can be done is to get as much information as possible, to read widely, to use less social media, to regain our autonomy in attention and reading, which is a kind of redemption and a kind of resistance, which is of great benefit to us and to society as a whole.
Photo licensing is based on CC0
Clear heart for a moment
I have come to discover that facts are sometimes not necessarily convincing. For the same fact, there can be different understandings, even the opposite understanding, such as building walls on the Internet, some people understand as blocking free information, some people understand that this is to protect us. It's not really a different understanding of a fact, it's a different understanding of the whole world.
Send to the author
Press and hold the QR code to transfer money to me
As a result of Apple's new rules, WeChat's iOS version of the appreciation feature has been turned off to support public numbers via QR code transfers.
Go to "Discovery" - "Take a look" browse "Friends are watching"
sent to have a look