The fact that social media channels like Facebook are being used to manipulate our thoughts and opinions shows that current social media is failing us. By association, the Internet is failing us. A communication tool that many of us thought would pull us together is tearing us apart. Instead of fostering compassion and understanding across our diverse planet it is serving to fuel the fires of hatred and division.
We share reams of personal data over social media channels that we would never provide to strangers or even many friends. These companies use it to manipulate our buying habits, voting decisions, music preferences, thoughts and opinions. Our view of and experiences on the web are filtered and curated by algorithms. We need to break away, take charge and start thinking for ourselves again.
There are ways we can broaden our information experience. Take breaks from the digital world. Magazines and books are still being printed - bookstores and libraries are full of them. Explore your chosen social media sources to force the algorithms to feed you a broader buffet of information.
We need a new form of social media. One that is not driven by advertising and conflict, not focused on profit but on creating real human connections. Something that connects us to a broader diversity of thoughts and opinions. A format that more closely mimics the reality and responsibility of human to human communication encouraging discourse while discouraging trolls, bots and bullying. A medium that allows us to build communities and craft relationships that bring us closer together, not pull us apart.
Maybe we should just put down our phones and start talking again.