I am guilty of this behavior myself and it's something that I've been working on a lot lately. I recognize that this is a problem, but I don't really support the government saving us from ourselves. I think this is something that average person just needs to educate themselves on and make the decision for themselves. It's not impossible to break free from it.
I highly suggest everyone checkout Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. It's a fantastic read.
this is pretty much the line that always comes from corporate lobbyists. We have armies of highly paid people that work at companies to exploit every little weakness of the human psychology and put out a ton of fake information. But let's just make this the responsibility of the individual and ignore the amount of manipulation that's done . They did this for smoking and now they are doing it for obesity and social media addiction. I bet the opioid crisis is also blamed on individuals that don't take responsibility for themselves.
As an individual you almost have no chance to escape unless you put in a lot of effort to get better information and even then it's hard considering how much misinformation is being put out.
Why do we allow the creation of a society that's hostile to people so companies can make money exploiting their weakness?
There are a couple of facets here, so I'll address them separately.
For one, it's not remotely my experience or that of my social circles to say you have "almost no chance" of healthy social media use (or abstinence, if that's your thing). It seems roughly as "inescapable" as "not going to the gym" or "not reading enough". I can't even imagine how you arrived at this conclusion. There are plenty of people who are either off social media or very happy with their level of usage, and they got there with sustained incremental effort, just like any form of self-improvement. Spreading the message that you're utterly helpless and your only hope is regulatory rescue isn't helping people, it's actively harmful. To forestall the often-ludicrous charge of "victim-blaming": it has nothing to do with blame to realize that the ultimate consequences fall on you, and that it's a good idea to do what you can to mitigate those consequences.
This isn't independent of advocating for regulatory action. My gut instinct is against regulation of social media, but from what I've seen, there are people out there who think of their social media usage as closer to involuntary addiction than a fun vice to indulge in, so I don't want to dismiss offhand any suggestions for regulation. I just simply can't imagine why you'd want to tell people (or yourself!) that they have no hope of getting to a better place.
Sure you can get to a better place and you should try to do so. What I am saying is that it’s very hard and that it’s not your personal failing if you don’t succeed. Some things are easy for some people that are hard for others. For example I have never had weight problems and naturally eat relatively healthily. But I see people who try really hard to not eat fast food but somehow can’t stay away. For these people the constant advertising and availability of fast food is deadly.
I think that we should not allow the seducers to do whatever they want.
Agreed, of course. I'd go so far as to so this is a prerequisite for doing anything difficult. But I interpreted the following quote as a considerably more hopeless outlook:
> As an individual you almost have no chance to escape unless you put in a lot of effort to get better information and even then it's hard considering how much misinformation is being put out.
It doesn't take Herculean effort to fix these habits, it just takes a sustained attempt to change your habits, without even pushing that hard. (and of course, there are the particularly-susceptible for whom even sustained effort won't work).
My pushback was against the sentiment often expressed here that there's no hope at an individual level, but it sounds from your second comment like you don't agree with that either.
For you maybe. But you have to understand that there are a lot of highly educated, highly paid people trying to figure how to make their products as addictive as possible to as many people as possible. So a lot of people stand no chance because their weaknesses are being exploited with precision.
Do you have no habits that annoy you but keep coming back no matter how much you try too get rid of them?
This is the leap I don't buy. First of all, it's factually incorrect: you're not being targeted with anything like precision. I worked in AI research before the boom and work between research and product now, I'm likely better than most of the highly educated, highly paid people you're talking about, and ML models aren't the otherworldly wizardry that people think they are. They work well on average; there's no highly paid team dedicated to analyzing wutbrodo or ididntdothis's usage and building a custom model. If you're making a mild effort to recognize and push back against mindless media consumption, you've already moved yourself away from the center of mass being targeted. And frankly, these companies aren't going to chase after you when the bulk of their usage comes from the chunks of the population whose behavior clusters better.
> Do you have no habits that annoy you but keep coming back no matter how much you try too get rid of them?
Honestly? No, I don't. I don't think I'm even particularly good at moment-to-moment willpower either. I just look at it differently. To take my diet as an example, it's almost exactly where I want it to be from a health perspective. It's to the point that my friends assume I'm some sort of iron-willed ascetic continually putting in effort to eat well, but it's completely effortless for me. But it took a literal decade for me to get here, through incremental change and letting my habits (and probably biology) adjust. If I had been in a rush and gotten repeatedly frustrated at my lack of rapid progress, I doubt I would have ever ended up here.
Reducing mindless media consumption and usage is similar (though in my experience, takes far less time), and is helped along by any number of apps and extensions.
This isn't a general argument that this is trivial for everyone, nor that regulation is inappropriate to help the average person who hasn't recognized the problem. What I'm pushing back against is the claim that "there's no hope of escape" for most, barring some extreme level of informedness or willpower. There are highly paid people with decades more experience making junk food hyperpalatable too. But while there's scope for regulation to help the average person, it'd be both inaccurate and unhelpful to claim that "there's no hope of escape" for an individual from the Standard American Diet.
Honestly I think a comparison to cigarettes is fair. Between the anti-patterns, the machine learning, the A/B testing, and the behavioral engineering, modern phone apps are more addicting than niccotine, and it's no more a person's fault for not being able to control themselves than it is for a smoker craving another cig.
The problem cuts a lot deeper than people having no self control. They are actively fighting intelligent, well resourced adversaries who have a long term goal of getting you hooked.
Trying to quit overuse of mobile phones while not losing access to their good features (maps, calendar, actual phone) is like trying to quit smoking while constantly walking around with a lit cigarette in your mouth.
"Hey man what are you doing with a cig behind your desk?"
- "I'm trying to quit smoking."
It started with my team at work getting together one day (almost a year and half back - some Trump BS was unfolding) and saying, if it gets too bad lets decide as a group to block ports/sites/apps etc on the company network. Slowly the list of things to block started growing.
It was really surprising how easily one could get consensus, that something specific was too distracting, effecting people and group productivity. Nobody wants to be the guy who says HN is addictive. But once someone says it at a meeting everyone starts nodding. News sites were the first to go. Then video. Then social media and most instant messaging/irc. We have moved to Signal to avoid some of the dark patterns in other IM/chat apps. And everyone is using the google/apple well being apps.
Almost everything is done on email or face to face these days. And almost 70 people now in what we call the noise cancellation club.
Right now things get unblocked during lunch time for 30 mins and after 5pm. There are common areas where things are unblocked, but they are intentionally pretty public spaces.
People of course can use their phones, but the fact that there is this environment available where it has become socially acceptable to be phone free, has definitely made a difference.
Before smartphones (generally speaking), the majority of your notifications were on your computer. If you walked away from it, you were no longer getting them.
Today, you've got a notification blaster in your pocket/purse, which is bad enough for work stuff, but if you participate in social media, it's a FOMO machine too. By default, all of your notifications are artificially urgent.
I'm a little older than the average HN'er, so my attitude in life has been closing my social circles to be a very small group of people with richer interactions, as opposed to enlarging it to a large group with less rich interactions. Because of that, it's been pretty easy to wean myself off of FB (not that it was ever a big part of my life in the first place), and I've never considered Twitter, Instagram or anything else to be that interesting. I will admit that I enjoy Reddit - those cute animal gifs are quite relaxing after a stressful day, but I don't use Reddit the way most people use FB or other social media.
When it comes to notifications, I turn a lot of them off. I keep my work notifications on during the hours I consider myself available (for urgent stuff, people know they have to call me), and tightly restrict other notifications that can be distracting.
And if an app doesn't let me disable notifications then I just uninstall it. Facebook Messenger was awful about this, when I saw there was no "Disable notifications", only a "Turn notifications off for 24 hours" option I immediately uninstalled it. Facebook was even worse, ostensibly you could turn notification types off individually, but whenever they added a new type of notification you'd have to go in and turn that off too, or it'd just forget what other notifications you had turned off and you'd start getting them again. Amusingly uninstalling the Facebook app gave me a nice battery performance boost too.
Another thing I've found handy is in my IM app I have notifications for everyone turned off by default, and only allow notifications for close friends and family. Why should any random person on the internet be able to grab my attention like that?
> Another thing I've found handy is in my IM app I have notifications for everyone turned off by default, and only allow notifications for close friends and family.
I figure the next step in the evolution of norms will be this understanding of granularity filtering down to the non-tech-savvy masses.
I use a hierarchy when it comes to prioritizing communications and notifications: Voice > sms > work im/email > personal im/email
Based on that hierarchy, I have different sets of rules as to the types of notifications I get and when I get them.
And I know you can permanently turn notifications of for any given contact because I have done so for one who didn't understand that messenger is not for long conversations that should have been on email, just because you typically get a quicker reply.
Honestly, I didn't even need to go that far. Just turning off notifications for Facebook was enough for me to completely stop using it.
Self-training in a bit of discipline is one of the most valuable things one can do with their life.
I've removed FB 2 years ago and couldn't be happier, the idea of being spammed with notifications like I was before is so alien now. I've paused notifications on noisy WhatsApp groups and go there maybe 1x a month. Removed most chat apps. Life is good. Try it.
I mean, if you want to drop nicotine addiction, you don't keep a 12-pack of cigarettes lying around, right?
I don't understand that argument. By the same reasoning all drugs should be legal:
Everyone know's it's bad. People get trapped. It has severe consequences for personal health and the society as a whole. But, hey, "it's not impossible to break free from it" by yourself. No need for Government action.
The key metric for me is impact to society.
You can do all bad things to you if you want to, and they only impact yourself, but if things have large impact on:
- Social fabric (stability of families and communities)
- Political Culture (erosion of discourse culture)
- Education (lower attention span)
- Healthcare (burnout!)
- Working productivity
It might be a good idea to change the rules to prevent these effects.
Yeah, that actually works pretty great for Portugal and the war on drugs shows that just changing the rules doesn't work (another example in the same vein: the prohibition). People aren't that stupid that they need someone else to tell them what's good or bad for them. They know that. They just don't act accordingly, and that's the real problem, and you can't just fix that by saying no you can't do X. Everyone already knows they shouldn't do X. Your rules aren't adding anything.
It's not like in Portugal you go and buy cocaine and the government expects you to self-regulate; that just doesn't work. Libertarianism works well for perfectly rational individuals, but rationality can't coexist with addictive drugs. Individuals need help breaking from destructive forces that are greater than themselves.
The idea here is not to punish people for using social media, but to punish social media companies for making their apps addictive. Just like in Portugal you can't get jail time if you're addicted, but you certainly do go to jail for dealing.
So following that line of thought, shouldn't we try to help people who are addicted to smartphones manage their lives and addictions, instead of trying to ban them from using a smartphone?
Do you really believe it's the illegal nature of drugs that keep the vast majority of people from using them? It's the fact that they know it's bad. In the future social media could be no different.
I don't know if I would be in favor of legalization, but Portugal has had reasonable success with decriminalizing all drugs.
FWIW, from a selfish perspective, I wish most drugs were legal:
; I used marijuana responsibly before it was legal and continue to use psychedelics responsibly, and the reason I don't do meth or cocaine isn't because it's difficult to get, but because I'm aware of how dangerous they are. But I'm genuinely curious as to what could make you think that, for the average person, legality doesn't drive a substantial amount of their attitudes towards usage of a given drug.
it is still illegal to manufacture and sell fetanyl to the public, just as the OP is suggesting regulating the addictive nature of social media/technology.
No one is saying let’s criminalize using smart phones.
There's also an absence of morality in these businesses. Facebook and many others established themselves with a giant bait and switch. Get the users, then put the pinch on them by selling every bit of info and using dark patterns to a point just shy of them quitting. That's an accepted way to do things. There is an underlying attitude that any legal and profitable venture is valid. Caveat emptor, greed is good, social darwinism. I'd regulate against that but I don't see how.
You could form some sort of regulatory body that decides itself what practices are acceptable and leverages fines against those that aren't, but that kicks the can down the road and also entrenches big businesses who can afford to interact with such an entity. Barriers to competition help create the monopolies and cartels that prevent consumers from punishing bad business practices.
Can you elaborate on why you think Facebook was a bait and switch? "They trust me, the dumb fucks" was during Facebook's infancy, and came to public attention years and years ago. More concretely, Facebook has consistently been amoral and user-hostile, and anyone paying even a little bit of attention knew that by, say, 2012. Hell, there were complaints about its addictive (+stalkery) potential when the news feed launched, in 2006! I'm what way is this a bait and switch, instead of clearly signaling the company they were the entire time?
The upshot is that people don't really see a problem with obtrusive monetization directly (FB ads aren't particularly egregious from a UI perspective), but rather attempts to increase engagement, which of course substantially predate their monetization efforts. The News Feed and related controversy are an easy, early example, as is the promotion of Farmville-style "games" (ca 2009/10), which also substantially predates Facebook's mainstreaming and the bulk of their user growth.
What is distracting for me is this feeling that the stakes are very high right now and that I can't afford to be missing out on available knowledge. This isn't FOMO about what my friends are doing on social media since I'm really only on here and Twitter, where none of my friends are, but a fear that I'm missing some key piece in a puzzle.
It's more a sense that there are major systemic crisis we are facing that need solving and my brain is consumed by finding ways to think about these crisis and how to evaluate and implement some kind of solution. I don't know if anyone else is also feeling this anxiety as a source of distraction from normal life or if this is just a personal psychosis.
Based on my personal experience I think that systemic complexity is driving up base-level anxiety which is being exploited by media and political entities to profit from anxiety-induced distraction, which only increase the complexity of the systems as every agent becomes further debilitated in their role by anxiety and anxiety-exploiting distractions.
PS - When I say "anxiety", I mean a deep feeling of uncertainty about the future.
This is pretty much the purpose of mindfulness practice: to force this quiet and make you contend with the thoughts actually causing your anxiety. I know this sounds like woo, but it's worth at least trying out mindfulness meditation and getting a keener sense of what concerns you. (And of course, it's entirely possible that you know your own mind and your model is correct. I just thought I'd share similar experiences I've had in the past)
We like to frame this as a personal issue because the individual decides to keep checking social media outlets. On the other hand, social media outlets think of people collectively: they incorporate addictive features based upon correlations between features and desirable usage patterns. This is an incredibly powerful tool since the decisions of an individual is difficult to rely upon, yet the patterns of large collections of people can be modeled and the uncertainties in that model understood. In other words, we are placing ourselves at a serious disadvantage if we insist upon looking at the issue through the lens of the individual.
In a sense, the government has to educate the collective since there is a conflict of interest otherwise. The companies that have the most control over the information that people see are also the companies that have the largest interest in keeping people glued to their screens.
To be frank claiming that private interests having influence is reason for giving power to the government is like saying that chickenwire is unfair to the foxes because the farmer is exploiting the chickens.
They are chosen to be our servants - not our masters - the power should be separated for a reason.
There is a big difference between a democratically elected government and a business. Governments must demonstrate restraint because they ultimately report to the people. Businesses typically demonstrate restraint in order to avoid regulation by the government. If you neuter government, then there are very few reasons for them to demonstrate restraint. In other words, the government is the chicken wire.
It feels pretty good. I'm more at peace with the world when I sit there and take it all in.
They can't even put their phone down when something is actually happening right in front of them. People have been recording with their phones since the inception of the camera phone, but I recently saw a metal concert where nearly everyone in the audience had their phones out, including those in the pit! These people should be headbanging, dancing around and roughhousing, but instead they just stood there for periods of time mouth a-gape with their phones raised. Do we really need 3,000+ copies of the same concert using up bandwidth and storage? People are so desperate to be a YouTube star in even the most minuscule of ways. They'll view life through a screen if it meant getting a 1,000 views. It must be distracting as hell to be living life and constantly wondering if you should be recording it.
We should never let the government dictate UI through laws. It’s shocking that it’s even being proposed.
The government has always had a say in the UI if it was for the greater benefit of it's citizen:
- Off putting images printed on cigarette packages
- Warning stickers put on microwaves to prevent people from drying their house cats in the microwave
- Forcing speed meters in cars
- Forcing head lights of cars to be turned on after a certain hour of the day
- Lot's of "UX" regulations in casinos and other addictive establishments
- Licenses to sell alcohol which basically influences where people can find and shop alcohol
- Recently the UK has drafted a law which prohibits supermarkets to stock and display addictive unhealthy food close to the checkout tilts (Mars, Snickers, fat crisps, etc.)
Why should it be different on the internet? Social media has a damaging and addictive negative impact on society, so it need's to be regulated to protect citizens from the exploitative patterns which these companies purposefully implement to hook vulnerable people into their system.
I wonder what makes people believe that the internet should be this sort of "law free" place where anyone can implement all the exploitative behaviour which is otherwise forbidden elsewhere?
Material Safety Data Sheets is another regulation that manufacturers are forced to follow but is pretty damn useful for end consumers also.
I see the case for minimising regulations in some contexts, but there are definitely strong cases for the government to come down with the force of an anvil in other contexts.
Then they want simple one case fits all solution to a complex or intractable problem (and usually the same solution, regardless of the problem).
In the real world, many regulations are influenced by corporations to serve their own interests. The food pyramid is an example of this.
Anyone aware of the latter should be skeptical of any proposed regulation, especially in the US. Is it in the best interest of the populace, or was it influenced to be in the best interest of a lobbying organization?
Amen. I did keto for a couple of years and was shocked at the amount of carbs and added sugar.
Violent crime doesnt happen on the internet. The only thing to prevent is fraud. And that weirdly isnt huge, at least in my life.
Not everyone subscribes to the thought that government makes better decisions than individuals. Having laws are often used for corrupt purposes.
I couldn't disagree more with these statements. Human and sex trafficking occur through the net, hell you can hire hitmen! Then there's the grooming of underage kids, etc. To say only fraud happens on the net just seems wild.
>Not everyone subscribes to the thought that government makes better decisions than individuals. Having laws are often used for corrupt purposes.
This is a pretty general statement. What specifically in the proposed law are you against?
Person A: I think in these situations the government action has been effective
“Person A thinks thst government makes better decisions than individuals”.
There is literally (and I mean this literally) not a single non crazy person in the world who thinks the government makes better decisions than individuals in general. For one thing, we don’t have AI yet and government is made of individuals. Yet this is your counter argument, and probably what you think people who disagree with you believe and rest their philosophies on.
There's always personal responsibility no doubt - and I'm very big on it -, but at the same time, should we allow corporations to exploit most of the population through addiction?
I don't think anyone can predict consequences of either choice in the short / long term.
By contrast, state power in this instance is exercised after deliberate thought, and in theory, in the interest of the people. This isn't the thoughtful and well informed decisions of individuals vs that of the state. It is that of our weakest, most impulsive moments vs making an informed decision before allowing products to be sold or made available.
Folic acid fortification of flour too . Protects against neural-tube defects, health effects on aging adults less clear. 
This legislation is not that. It is one legislator's policy team throwing darts wildly, with the goal of generating hype for their member, not actually getting anything passed into law.
Or do you find it disturbing that kids who don't know better yet are meant to be told that if they start smoking cigarettes, which are very addictive, can cause them to die 20 years earlier rather than telling them that it is "cool" which is what the ad industry did before?
Maybe from a complete selfish point of view I can see how it's annoying that I cannot buy alcohol just at any time of the day wherever I want, but the government is not being elected to act selfishly. They have a responsibility towards their electorate, and if something is causing people to get depressed, harm themselves and become unhappy, unproductive and a burden on the state, then it is the governments duty to implement regulation which can help prevent from falling into those damaging habits.
That would be a very good thing. Also, limiting the size of sodas. Etc. Don't the US have some kind of a weight problem maybe? Shouldn't it be the job of the government to help fix it?
The problem is not one of "freedom". It's a war waged by corporations against individuals. The role of the government is, at the very least, to protect individuals in that war.
>The government has the responsibility to keep society productive
That is very much your opinion.
I'm of the opinion that government should be doing whatever the end result of every member of government acting as the people who elected them want them to act (not necessarily what is best for those people). So what if the people want stupid things, the people should get what they want. It's not government's job to act like a parent.
speedometers seem pretty important to have (although I doubt cars would be designed without them in 2019 even if it were legal), as do headlights at night and in the rain. I don't think these are unreasonable laws, as they have a very obvious and direct impact on road safety.
I can't really agree with the arbitrary restrictions on alcohol purchases though. where I live, it is illegal for liquor stores to be open on Sundays. how is society helped by preventing me, a responsible and productive citizen, from buying some alcohol on one of my two days off from work?
It's a cost benefit calculation. Laws are primarily not drafted for the responsible and self disciplined people. They are there to prevent the irresponsible or vulnerable people from getting so wasted on a Sunday evening that they don't show up to work on a Monday, then lose their job, then become homeless, then start petty crimes to survive on the streets, then fall into drug addiction, then rob you, a responsible and productive person on a Tuesday when you are at work, potentially even harming your kids which might be already at home just to steal something stupid as someone's phone.
Does the alcohol restriction prevent responsible and productive people from having a beer on Sunday? Not really, if they are responsible then they probably did a bigger shopping the day before and have some extra beers stocked in their fridge on Sunday.
Just to be clear, I am not defending a particular law here, just highlighting that there is nothing inherently wrong with a government wanting to draft legislation in a cost/benefit effective way.
In micro and macro economics the one law that all our economic models are based on is that everyone works for their own benefit, so at least from that perspective it's in the governments benefit to look after the people who elected them, so they will get elected again.
it's important to note that this is an opinion, not a fact. clearly there are a few people here who don't share that opinion.
personally I think to harm or even inconvenience people who haven't done anything wrong yet is one of the worst things a government can do. it's just my opinion though, clearly there are many people who are happy to grant even more power to the state so it can craft crude laws to protect them.
And yet, they still apply to us. Your benevolent intentions do not invalidate our stake in the restrictions that are imposed upon us.
Many people find constant paternalistic intrusions on the part of the state to be a legitimately worse cost than a marginal increase in behavior by bad actors. Exercising authority over petty matters may be a free action in your utility calculus, but it adds up to a significant irritation and a material quality-of-life burden to those of us who value the freedom to simply buy a beer when we want to.
Please consider this point of view. Society is not a sterile engineering problem to be optimized in terms of concrete inputs and outputs.
From that lens all these regulations make sense, including the social media regulations proposed.
But my more serious answer would be that everybody is harmed by inconsistent trade rules between states. It just makes doing business harder. The commerce clause was thought up when considering a much less centralized nation composed of many isolated markets. Today even the much less tightly bound EU has a pretty strong level of trade uniformity, enforced centrally. So I think that everyone benefits from a relaxed view of the commerce clause, and that this isn't a real infringement on our rights.
You are living in a society after all.
The Economist is putting it mildly. The Act is quite short and accessible, so well worth reading directly: https://www.hawley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019-07/So.... More on that half an hour limit, from Section 4 (paraphrased):
- Opt-out 30 minutes a day time limit
- The time limit gets reset every month, so you have to keep opting out
- A nag pop-up at least once every 30 minutes showing how much time you've spent there that day
If this passes, using the (US) internet will become much more annoying.
(Section 7, which says the FTC gets to make up new rules later, looks a bit suspicious to me too, but I'm not clear on the degree to which that's just standard operating procedure for American politics.)
Worst thing ever.
It's exactly like pollution nobody gives a damn here about it. This is going offtopic but check pollution data for India its same as that of China. At least China has proper facilities for measuring the air quality.
I have checked. It is not the same.
World Most Polluted Cities in 2018 - PM2.5 Ranking | AirVisual – https://www.airvisual.com/world-most-polluted-cities
Coming back to social media there's a growing number of foreign youtubers who react to Indian media. The ammount traffic they are receiving is phenomenal. This though not a correct indicator definitely highlights growing social media in India.
Nielsen may be biased though.
Netflix drops a series of something and you have millions binging it all in a sitting the first few days. Take Stranger Things, Netflix revealed that 40.7 million accounts watched at least part of the series in the first 4 days.
It's not uncommon for me to see in my Facebook feed, almost daily, people saying "I completed SERIES what do I watch next?".
The number doesn't surprise me at all, especially given there are people that are streaming stuff like Netflix most/all day at work on their phones with them propped up, then going home to watch something with their partner or binging an entire season on a Saturday.
You have no idea. Politics aside, there is a reason Fox News is above and beyond the most watched cable network (4th behind NBC/CBS/ABC/Fox which are all free).
These are 2 things that apparently large parts of the population do not do. Instead they grab fast food on the way home and watch TV until bed. At least that's the responses I get anytime I say people should work out every day, and eat healthier by spending a few minutes cooking.
The end is near /s
Although the real dangers are that those ideas shared could be bad.
It would be really nice if Apple would re-allow content-blocking apps on the iPhone.
It would also be nice if someone would develop a subscription service like SelfControl.app, but which took recurring payments in order to support an engineer making continual improvements. https://github.com/SelfControlApp/selfcontrol/issues?q=is%3A...
By the way, there exists some similar fintech for substance addictions: https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/next_step-card-...
If you want to break the addiction, the only thing you can do is abstinence from the apps that employ these tactics. I don't think that you can win against adversaries that literally make a living out of getting you to keep clicking.
Media like HN is fine, self control techniques work here because YC isn't doing all of the same dark patterns and addiction strategies that are being employed by facebook, youtube, twitter, snapchat, etc.
If you realize you are addicted to one of these opiate-like apps, you really have to choose cold-turkey.
There might not be anything purposefully done to get you hooked, but link aggregators have some "innate" features that your brain really likes, such as getting upvotes and discovering cool stuff on a random basis.
They did, didn’t they?
We're living in the part of the dystopian movie, in the beginning, where they explain the timeline of how everything got so bad.
Addictions are predictable & can be channelled to make profit. Like they say, "Make hay while the Sun shines". Whole private business community rides on such waves of addictions(good/bad).
Some successful businessmen with guilty conscience do charity.
I think it should go in the other corner where it says 'TV Addiction'...
Absolutely, go pick a video at random from a YT account with more than say half a million subscribers. Go look at the comments, go look at the 'community' tab on one of those accounts pages and look at the engagement in their non-video shares as well. Go watch one of these accounts when they do a live video and the chat is often flying by faster than you can read more than one or two lines.
I do agree that most people won't prefer paying with money instead of attention, but that doesn't mean they won't prefer paying with money over not having the service.
This dynamic is even more powerful for network-effects-driven platforms like Twitter or fb
When people perceive a value, they'll pay an appropriate price in some way (be it by spending money or watching ads), that's all I'm saying. And they appear to value social media or they wouldn't spend that much time on it. So if you remove "just watch some ads" as a payment form, I'm pretty sure that at least some will switch to handing over money.
That being said, that's my personal opinion.
Another factor is that not everyone, especially women, do not want to leave themselves open to strangers to bother or even harass them. The best way to do that these days is to be busy on your phone, or to put on some ear/headphones in public. Looking busy is almost a must on public transit or else you risk looking like prey to unwanted solicitations.
Just pointing out that people merely use a service for X minutes doesn't tell what people are doing
Over the last year the instagram service added IGTV, which can be replacing TV and youtube for some people, for example
These can be completely exempt from the messed up frustrating picture feeds and the use case of attracting likes.
I think purely the attention companies get at demo day would have been a very powerful thing and I know there are countless tech types the world around that are fed up with technology in front of them all the time (and it's nothing new, I knew a programmer in the late 90s that got rid of his computer, then his game consoles, then his television because he just didn't want to be around the stuff outside of work). I mean, look at how many CS types buy hobby farms or talk about someday buying hobby farms. Look at a lot of the van life and tiny home types, same kinda thing.
I would love to help people take a step away from tech, if anything just to help myself.
Here's a snippet of something I wrote in 2017, it's probably the first time I really put thought into ME and tech
>In 1995 when I discovered the internet we got 60 hours a month, shortly after we got 120 hours a month. If the weather was nice you didn't give a shit about the internet, you were outside. If the weather was bad you'd connect to the internet, get lost in the text of a MUD. I remember the first time I saw an image on a website, the first time I saw video on a computer.
Here's another bit, this grows and evolves in me almost daily
>I've got 21st century burnout. I'm not alone, I know I'm not. I've got two friends that are of a similar mind. I want to live in a world where community is a thing, where life is simple, where the only real concerns are who's bringing what to the block party or what book I want to read next.
What's really crazy is just look at video games, the time we spend in video games is dumbfounding
>ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX BILLION HOURS A YEAR. That's 17,808,219 man-YEARS spent on video games annually. 17 million years wasted every year playing video games. Seventeen MILLION.
I break that out, using great works we've done, to show what we might accomplish if we just put down video games
And that doesn't include the obscene amounts of time people, hell I, spend on Instagram, Facebook, HN, Reddit, Tinder-like apps, sending gifs and memes in a dozen message/chat threads.
We've gotta do something about this.
But they are plugged to the world, and more so than in the past when they were limited to people around them, books, newspapers etc.
This is leading to anxiety, depression and even suicides
I am not a Facebook person myself but I see no harm in someone spending their time commuting on a train using Facebook instead of something more worthy, e.g. reading a newspaper.
Behind closed doors people plug in to regular TV programming and spend hours on games consoles. There are only so many hours in the day and people who spend hours on social media are spending less time watching regular TV.
Instead of moral panic we need some better numbers. For instance we have unemployment numbers, we could also do with numbers of how many people lost their lives to Facebook/X-Boxes/YouTube/trawling Wikipedia this month.
The part that disturbs me the most about these conversations is how everyone assumes (and I'm guilty of this too) that when people are "glued to their phones" it's for something superficial like social media. When I'm glued to my phone, I'm checking work email, photos of my kids that family is sending me, paying bills online, researching some side project, making plans for an upcoming vacation, etc.
I don't think people would equate the vacuousness of 'doing it for the gram' with managing your finances. But when we see people on their phones, we just sort of assume they're doing something wasteful. That shouldn't be the default assumption given that you can run your entire life, business, etc from a phone.
If I see a game on a screen or a movie playing then I am reasonably sure that that person is enjoying some down time rather than learning a part for a Shakespeare play, studying for their Mathematics degree or entering their tax returns.
Way back in 2008 London was padding lamp posts to protect people that were staring at their devices