Tag Archives: post-truth

Your Attention Please 9/10

We love our phones.

App developers create spaces online that we can’t resist.  They want us to “Stay, play and pay with our attention or personal data”. (Paul Kennedy, Ideas podcast)

The adoption of the smart phone was one of the most massive and ubiquitous technological uptakes in our history.  When we go from laptop to mobile phone, the keyboard and mouse are gone, and the browser and search engine are not really used much.  Writing  a lot of text is challenging, so we tend to be more focused on images and video, particularly inside apps.  These capture our attention.

According to Sue Gardner (formerly of Wikimedia Foundation), people are choosing apps because they are convenient, customized for the device, and therefore they can be designed to be a more pleasurable experience for users.

We trade our privacy for convenience, but this is how we monetize the internet.  Apps can collect far more information about users than the open web can. We are using the web in the way that technology companies are designing it for us, and that is not under our control when we are inside apps.

In a sea of information, though, the apps are arguably providing a service, sorting and personalizing the flow of information for us (Brodie Fenlon).  But then we are getting lost in our apps.  It’s an addictive activity, and companies use strategies for growth hacking – making people want to stay longer.

Sue Gardner: Apps give people exactly what they want, which is dangerous.  There is no “wholesome diet” of information.  There is no tough information to grapple with.  What gets attention gets more attention and snowballs.  Popular fake news is shared.

Apps also create a cycle of privilege.  We enter and pay with our data, which allows them to better meet our needs and keep us there, away from outside information, and making money for them.

Brodie Fenlon: Facebook favours sharability over public interest.  It favours scale over niche so local news is out.

People don’t see things that don’t share well, yet they are grabbed because they are getting what they like, so they are not taking the time to look elsewhere.  But this WORKS for us.  We are happy with this experience – even addicted to it.

And it’s our attention that is monetized over truth.  Buzzfeed reported that during the 2016 US election, Macedonian youth made money on grabbing our attention and producing clickbait, primarily for Trump supporters.

buzzfeed-clicks-are-money
Craig Silverman on Buzzfeed https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became-a-global-hub-for-pro-trump-misinfo?utm_term=.nd43K3l13j#.maB3N3nB3M

 

This model of monetizing our attention is very effective in intensifying and amplifying our beliefs, capitalizing on confirmation bias, and splitting us into a deeply divided society, where all we see is what we want to see, and what we already believe.

It’s a dangerous way for information to flow in a democracy.

 

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

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Featured image by Agberto Guimares on Unsplash

Resources:

CBC Ideas Podcast

The Truth About Post-Truth

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

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A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

A World of Feelings, Not Facts 7/10

In our online world, increasingly dominated by social media, feelings are more important than facts.

This is the assertion of Hossein Derakhshan, an idea that I first encountered on Screened Off: The Dangers of the Insular Web.

As an online teacher, I always considered video to be an excellent tool to engage learners.  But do we understand how this engagement impacts learning and thinking?

Streaming video was enabled with the spread of high-speed internet, and more often now, we consume this emotion-driven form of content over text.  This makes the Internet far more like watching television than reading a book or an article.

Increasingly,  our online time is spent inside apps, not on the open web.  According to Hossein Derakhshan, a blogger and writer based in Iran,

“Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.””

Subject matter that we consume inside apps, like Facebook, entertains us.  Corporate owners design these spaces to keep us there, because the longer we stay, the more money they make.  Negativity does not encourage engagement, so we are presented with “feel good” content.

Instead of engaging in dialog around important social issues, and reading text, where “facts” can be challenged, more and more, we choose to spend our time in the comfort of our apps, accepting the diet of targeted, advertisement-driven mush, fed to us by the algorithm that controls our content.

Watching video (television) instead of reading text means that we become victims of those who have mastered this one-way, emotion driven form of media, and we become passive consumers of those who grab our attention instead of citizens engaged in discourse around facts.

How does this impact our understanding of our world?

derakhshan-on-tv-online
CBC Ideas Podcast: Screened Off: The Dangers of the Insular Web http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/screened-off-the-dangers-of-an-insular-web-1.3937638

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Featured image shared by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

 

Text vs. World Trumps