Last week over coffee with friends we discussed checking our day-to-day reality against the news and social media feeds. We all agreed that our own experiences/interactions average about 97% positive out in the world.
Our lives are bombarded with constant messages designed to provoke an emotional reaction—a click to like or share, make a purchase, or a donation.
Does my experience map to what I’m told I should be feeling? What is the motivation? Who profits? Who or what is harmed by this message? Why?
I remembered the October testimony before Congress of FACEBOOK whistleblower Frances Haugen so I looked for some of her quotes. I included the C-SPAN link below.
“I’m here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.” —FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER
FACEBOOK obviously isn’t alone in this practice—corporate advertising, influencers, lobbying groups, politicians, churches, colleges, non-profits, the list goes on and on. Many organizations are well worth our energy/resources AND many are designed to either create outrage or tug at our heartstrings.
If profit is to be made off of manipulating my emotional life, it seems like an act of revolution to first put my response through a reality/values filter.
It takes just a moment and when I take the time, I feel less manipulated and more in control.
- manipulate: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose
- emotion: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)
- profit: the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business
- reality: something that actually exists or happens, a real event, occurrence, situation, etc.
- values: something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically desirable
- filter: to pass or move through
“There is a pattern of behavior that I saw [at] Facebook: Facebook choosing to prioritize its profits over people.”
Thank you, Joan, Mary, Christie, and Maggie for the coffee time spark. Also thank you Willa for the drawing of your that I used in the reality filter graphic.