Algorithms Suck

In the last few years I’ve noticed a LOT of young people on Social Media claim to be suffering from burnout. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know if they truly are or if they are merely claiming to suffer burnout because they don’t know what else to call it.  Is suffering burnout a new fad thing that I haven’t heard of? Since I don’t know the answer to that question, I’m going to approach this by taking people at their word. So….what on earth can be causing these (30- something people) to suffer burnout?

Listen, I know I’m an oldster and it’s easy to think that I’m out-of-the-loop, I don’t-understand-how-it-is-now,  I’m too old-fashioned-to-understand-the-Internet and how-Social-Media-works, or how important it is to be “an Influencer”. While that may all be true to some extent, it also means that I have lived through a time when the 30-somethings weren’t even born yet. I know, from experience, a different way of doing things. I grew up in a time when kids had to be face-to-face to play a game, people spent time outside and looked at each other. Chatting was something we did on the phone or over a table while sipping our favorite beverage; chatting was not something we had to read.

Granted, the Internet has made some things incredibly easy, and Social Media has allowed us to be closer to, and more involved with, our friends and family across the country, this digital highway is definitely fabulous —but it needs to not take over our lives. Let’s look at “burnout” with these young people. You kids are inheriting a sick world, and I apologize for that because my generation was part of the problem and not a big enough part of the solution. I know job security is a term you aren’t familiar with. I watch you kids (yes, at under 40 you are still a kid to me) putting out “content” at a rate that keeps you constantly busy.

I admit I’ve slowed down a bit, but you are cranking out “content” at a rate that I can barely fathom. The only way I can see you doing what you do is if you are giving up on “living” and putting it off until you’ve “made it”. I fear you are going without proper sleep, food, hydration or recreation. We all need to give ourselves room to breathe and to acknowledge ourselves as human beings…not human doings.

We need to look around us at this beautiful world and realize we are connected to it, to each other and to all the life forms on this planet. Please, take time to connect and reconnect and rejuvenate. Don’t let the algorithms strip you of your humanity. We have a richness of thought, feelings and human experience that algorithms cannot have. This marvelous superhighway of the Internet has also created some bad things that didn’t exist in such big numbers before. Stress for one.

The stress created by Social Media is insane. That’s right…insane. It has the potential to drive anyone who becomes enslaved to it insane also. Different social media platforms began (I think) as a means for people of like minds to share what they loved. However, now, thanks to big-business, big-government and big-money the Internet is no longer a place that affords easy, social times for people who live far apart. From what I’ve noticed, social media is becoming a bigger advertising venue than TV, magazines, or radio ever were.

Years ago, a lovely little Social Media channel began, actually two began. The first one I was introduced to was Facebook which allowed me to be in contact with my siblings on the other side of the country. We could share information and photos almost immediately which gave us the opportunity to stay in touch in a way that was not available before. We were able to work on ancestry information without having to meet in person to share info. This saved us a lot of time and some money in travel expenses.

Instagram came along very quickly after (or maybe beside and I just didn’t learn of it until after) and provided a great way for artists and photographers to share their work with one another. It was great to get feedback from others with the same passion. Fast Forward to cell phones that take pictures and access the Internet and now there are apps to do just about everything. They make it easier to access the World Wide Web than our computers do, and they are always at our fingertips.

I understand the concept of wanting and needing to make money. I don’t mind an occasional ad… but instead of an occasional ad from a legitimate advertiser we now see almost an ad every two to three images and sometimes there will be three ads in a row. This is right on target with prime-time TV.

There are several young women whose entire feed is about helping you get thousands of followers who will engage with your posts and help you create an income stream. (By letting advertisers piggyback on your posts I would assume.) Judging by the number and variety of the ads I see in my stream; advertising may be the main function of IG very soon.

Back to the IG “experts” (these young girls) talk about posting every day, mini-blogging in your IG stream, and sometimes posting multiple times a day, in multiple platforms, plus a separate blog or vlog that you are active in at least once or twice a week. You’d think that might be enough but no… you also need to add a podcast and/or YouTube video (also being posted at least weekly), and a “live stream”, etc.

Is it any wonder that a human can’t keep up with all this?  Do you begin to see how “burn-out” happens to young, healthy people? The most important thing to remember is this…these social media sites are run by algorithms (computer programs) on machines. They are not run by people.

I repeat… They are not run by people.

You really need to work to find a way to connect to a human if you have a problem. There are no phone numbers listed and it takes some dedication to find an email address or snail mail address. The algorithms are designed to push into the limelight those who are posting often enough (with high enough follower numbers) to be of value to advertisers. They are also pushing the posts of the advertisers themselves (those who’ve paid handsomely) for the privilege of being pushed into noticeable places. To push your account and posts into the top positions so that they are in many feeds and they come up to the top when anyone searches for any of the things advertised takes huge dedication.

“This” is designed by companies who can throw multiple employees at the algorithms to stay on top of the Social Media search engines and feed machines. It’s not impossible to break through that, but it becomes increasingly more impossible to find followers because everything is built to keep the small account small and to feed and funnel viewers to corporate accounts.

As tempting as it all is, and as seriously as I need to create something that will provide us with residual income to flesh out our retirement; I still hold out against the algorithm. I am not a machine. I need to eat, use the facilities, sleep, and do some things for relaxation and enjoyment. Sometimes I need to help my adult children and sometimes I need to spend time with my grandchildren. Once you leave the high-energy 30-something age, you begin to feel your mortality and realize that you ARE a Human Being, not a Human Doing. This one life that we all have will be gone far too quickly. You don’t want to be lying on your deathbed wondering what happened to your life, and if you aren’t very careful where you spend your time, you could be.

So…to you young people out there…fight the machine, or the man, or whatever it’s being called today…fight the algorithm, force these social networks to give more than they take. Refuse to play the game of the advertisers and big corporate accounts. You have the power, because if you aren’t “buying in” they’ll need to do something else. If corporations aren’t getting clicks from the social media networks, they’ll quit paying to be there. That means, don’t click on those links within your social media accounts to buy something…go out of IG, or whatever site you’re on, and type in the actual search bar to find what you want and then get info or make your purchase from there.

This protects you also by making sure you are going to an actual website instead of getting ripped off and believe me, I’ve been burned twice by this crap. So be smarter than I am. Don’t click on advertisements within social media. Whenever you can, thumb your nose at Social Media convention and don’t write the mini blog, after all…a picture is worth a thousand words, so a good image only needs a few words of introduction or explanation. Let’s stick together and help each other. The Corporate Monster needs to be sized down and we small people with talent need to be noticed and appreciated. WE have rights and together we have the power to change the world.

 

Namaste.

 

Square Nails and Deck Shoes

In 1963 or so there was an abandoned school house just a few yards from where I lived. Far enough away to be safe from the prying eyes of adults if we were careful, but close enough that we kids had to keep our exuberance under control so as not to be heard. The old yellow schoolhouse was “off limits” to us. We played there a lot, in complete secrecy, when we were children.

It was slated for demolition since it was in disuse for so long. As sad as I was to see it being demolished, I was also very curious about the demolition process. Over the weeks it took the men to dismantle the old yellow brick building I would hang around watching. I would hang around on the fringe of all the activity, watching, trying to stay out of the way. Actually, I tried to escape any notice at all for fear they would send me far enough away that I couldn’t see anything. Continue reading

A Feeling of Dread

Only one (1) more day can I wake up with the comforting thought, “Obama is still my President.” On Saturday morning I will not be able to think that, and that thought alone makes my chest grow tight and breathing becomes difficult.

I believe in the power of energy, words and thought so I try to keep my thoughts, my words and my energy positive and upbeat. I try to concentrate on all the beauty in this world, on all the wonderful people there are here (and by here I mean all around the globe).

Then I open my email and receive this: Continue reading

1880 or 2016? 136 years of women’s exploitation?

In this cool old book, “Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping”  the preface starts off with “Fortunately it is becoming fashionable to economize,” In my local community, in the past couple of years, there have been several events started that aim, or aimed, at helping homemakers learn how to economize while creating a pleasant home experience.  “and housekeepers are really finding it a pleasant pastime to search out and stop wastes in household expenses,” Are they really? Is it a pleasant pastime or is it a necessity? I think in today’s economy, most homemakers would claim it to be a necessity. And evidently, it is a long lived necessity and one that is even profitable. If it weren’t such a popular topic I doubt that Martha Stewart could have built a financial empire on it and that FlyLady would have been hard put to follow in her footsteps. Up-andcomer, Rachel Ray, is on the scene with an ever increasing popularity in those interested in cooking.and to exercise the thousand little economies which thoughtful and careful women understand so readily and practice with such grace.” Continue reading