“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”
The advancements of technology in the 21st century have become an art of vast terrains. The controversy lies within the essentiality of each of these advancements emerging past a fathomable timeframe. Data scientists, software engineers, marketers, business analysts, machine learning engineers, data analysts, content strategists, product strategists — an entire set of chess players are against you once you enter the virtual realm. Every search, every click, and every move is detected and eagerly implemented against you. Ultimately, society is gravitating to temptation. The concept of essentiality has entirely evolved in spite of ignorance.
The only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’ are software and illegal drugs. The exposure in these two industries targets a common space: addiction. In order to retain customers, corporations have assembled a force working against customers to manipulate their habits through the withdrawal of dopamine. Essentially, social media and the general internet are transforming into a form of digital drugs. Software and AI have been trained to evolve before users, past their conscience while preying on their weak moments. Social media users create accounts and feel a sense of authority and ownership. That’s exactly what these companies want. However, users aren’t in authority, nor in ownership. In fact, once they explore their interest in people, hashtags, etc, their account evolves to authorize and claim ownership upon them. The home page, order of content, newsfeed, search results, suggestions, and advertisements are constructed to fit their personal preferences, recognized through their time investment and activity, deterring them from reality and instilling constant addiction — in other words, attaching them to a leash. The goal of social media tech leaders: take away your time and deter you from reality. Aren’t drugs in the market for the same purpose?
“If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.” Society has conceptualized free as advantageous. Social media outlets have purposely created no barrier to entry for maximum accessibility and profit. Their profit — users — is extracted through a different dimension that the average consumer doesn’t internalize. Social media and general technological companies have strategized their profit dynamics. From direct profit and customer donations to selling user information — these companies are chasing money through undetected means. Another way people conceptualize this idea is that advertising groups are the new customers, social media users are the product they thrive on. After the software and AI on the backend collect the user’s data and preferences, the information is then sold and on its way to advertisers to further develop their strategies. Advertisers are desperate to collect information in the interest of maintaining their rigid grasp on users. Users are made unaware of these transactions, allowing the flow of personal information to cycle. Until the secret is unveiled, the cycle continues.
Scrolling on the frontend is not free. You’re selling yourself.