Time Well Spent is a nonprofit organization which seeks to reverse what they call the digital attention crisis, caused by the brilliant minds at Google, Apple, Facebook, and elsewhere who hijack our minds.
Through ever-more sophisticated manipulation techniques delivered through our mobile devices and social media features in order to capture as much attention as possible, regardless of their impact on users’ quality of life.
Social software controls the nature of your actions to a far greater degree than anything you experience offline. On Facebook and other social media platforms, a one-size-fits-all approach means you are locked into their peculiar modes of interaction.
Every time you engage with social media platforms, they get better at learning your online behaviors – picking up what you like and do not like to see on your screen.
For the longest time, news feed algorithms specifically focused on providing you with content to keep you engaged and coming back for more. This led to more time spent on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, which allowed them to show you more ads.
As we all know, the more ads they served, the more revenue they made through advertising. All of this led to a broken, unethical social media machine.
At one point in time, the designers thought the like button would help alleviate the number of comments. It was supposed to help clean up the feed with a simple way to signify agreement.
Over time, certain behaviors and patterns tended to receive more likes than others, and we started to create a World of the highly liked and those more forgotten.
You might not wake up every morning thinking your goal for the day is to earn more likes, but it is not that far off for some people who are continually rewarded and emotionally stimulated by this form of social currency.
Today, however, we are living in a new era of screen-time saturation. It feels that more and more often, people are in a state of criticizing how others spend their time.
We are much more aware of it because we are frequently being told we spend too much time scrolling through distractions on Instagram, binge-watching Netflix, and yet we still feel overworked at our jobs. Attention is not shrinking, we are just becoming more selective.