Give Us What We Need, Fearfeeds

Give us what we need, dear fearfeeds.

Pictures from Fahrenheit 451 (HBO) film


I’m hungry for the news and happenings
The anger, the rage, the collective mishappenings

I’m clapping for the world to burn down,
I love to hear the fire of crowds and the sounds.

Fearfeeds, give me what I need
Sensations, feelings, and a sense of purpose and direction
Give me more Russian hackers to play with the elections

Fearfeeds, give me what I need
I need that little dopamine hit in the morning, to drown out the malaise, depression, and boredom
I need excitement to happen; tell me that I’m right, smart and captain

Fearfeeds, give me what I want
My soul is thirsty; I’m suffering a California drought
I need something to distract me so I can go though life, with fewer bad thoughts and strife.

“Give us what we need, it may not be what we want.” – Kanye West

To be very explicit, I am very very anti-social media. Why? Social media algorithms are ruining your life.

This is how social media works:

  1. Social media wants you to be addicted to their platform, to check your “likes”, comments, new follower numbers, everyday– etc.
  2. The more you ‘engage’ with the platform (the more you like the photos of others, leave comments on the photos of others, etc), two things happen: you are more likely to click on advertisements, or platforms such as Facebookgram (Facebook owns Instagram) learns more about your personal preferences.
  3. The more social media platforms learn about your personal preferences, the more they can feed you more ‘personalized’ advertisements.

And this is the problem:

In order to have you check your social media account (several times a day) — these algorithms often feed you “fearfeeds”– essentially sensationalist, scary, or news that makes you angry.

Why are our news feeds so fear-inducing?

Humans often respond better to fear than positivity. For example — ask yourself: Are you more likely to click on a news story about something which might possibly affect your life in a negative way (dangerous political protests), or a positive story (12-year old boy helps grandma cross the street?)

Of course we are more likely to be ‘engaged’ with potential threats. Psychologists call this ‘risk aversion’ — the idea that we are averse (scared) of risk. Thus, most humans often focus on self-preservation.

Anything that can threaten your self-preservation is bad. Thus, we must obtain information which keeps us safe. (Unfortunately) for many individuals in society– safety, predictability, and lack of randomness is good. We don’t want to be hurt, or potentially die.

Practical ideas

I’m not telling you how to live your life. I am simply providing alternative suggestions or options. Let me share with you what I have personally done in my life:

  1. Installed ‘Facebook news feed blockers’ in my Chrome/Firefox/Safari browser (here is a link to the Chrome Facebook News Feed Eradicator). After doing this for about a month, I stopped feeling petty envy or jealousy with friends and family. I’m proud to say I’ve been “Facebook news-feed free” for around 4 years.
  2. Eventually stop using the Facebook platform. If you really want to keep in touch with friends and family, just use Facebook messenger, or (direct link to Facebook’s messenger platform). I am skeptical of the Facebook messenger platform, as well as What’s App — but for now, it is one of the best ways for people to have direct communication with one another.
  3. I stopped reading all websites, blogs, etc (all this is sensationalist news and crap which distorts your view of reality). When I need to access Google for information on a website, I use ‘Reader Mode’ in Safari (also available in Firefox), to strip away all the sensationalist news, and distractions in the sidebars and footers. Also a tip — if you need to find interesting information on Google, add the word “PDF” at the end. Better to read PDF’s, instead of articles on Google for more distilled information.
  4. Delete Instagram. Instagram used to be a good platform when they were independent. Now the problem is that Instagram is the next Facebook — in the sense that Facebook’s news feed algorithm is becoming more and more embedded into Instagram. I deleted my Instagram in 2017, and I’ve been much happier now as a result. I’ve been more creative with my photography, less anxious to get likes, and I’ve been paving lots of interesting new ground in my photography. As a benefit, I’ve been far more productive with my blogging (which is actually my ‘Archimedes Lever’ — how I provide 80% of my impact in my everyday life). Practical idea: Start your own photography blog.
  5. Start reading books on how algorithms work, and how they ‘game’ our minds. For example, I recommend the books: “The Filter Bubble”, “The Glass Cage”, or any books by Jaron Lanier (I like ‘You Are Not a Gadget’, ‘Who Owns the Future?‘, ‘Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now‘, etc. Ultimately you must understand how these ‘free’ online social media platforms work, then you must make the decision how you decide to use these services (or whether you decide NOT to use them at all).

Conclusion: Decide for yourself.

Once again, these are just my personal suggestions and ideas. Don’t listen to me. I just want you to do the following:

  1. Cultivate more skepticism. Whenever you use a ‘free’ product– recognize that you’re the product. How are these companies using your personal behavior, clicking-tracking information, etc — in order to monetize you? Are they hooking you to their platform in order to have you click on more advertisements, or perhaps channel you into buying “In App Purchases”?
  2. Experiment abstaining (fasting) 100% cold-turkey from some of these social media platforms for a week, and see how you feel.
  3. When you see news in your fearfeeds– ask, ‘How does this make me feel?’
  4. Is social media improving or worsening your life? In what ways?
  5. Ask yourself: “Is social media bringing me closer to my friends and family — or more distant from them?” What are some walls which social media creates?

Let us Make Ars Ours Again!

But if you don’t use social media — how can you share your artistic photographs?

ARS is the answer. If you want honest feedback and critique on your photos, upload them to ARSBETA.COM >. Your pictures are randomly uploaded to ARS, and your pictures are anonymized– which means people will truly give you honest feedback on your photos.

This Friday, we have an epic update coming — VERSION II with a constructive critique feature. This will change everything.

I will send a newsletter email once ARSBETA.COM VERSION II is live. Signup for ERIC KIM NEWSLETTER to be the first to know, and if you love ARS, share it with your friends!

Let us fix social media together!

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