We live our lives consuming digital media. Many of us are read the news on our tablet, watching Youtube on our computers, making Google searches on our phones, and browsing social media everywhere. If that is you probably can't help but think that the world is becoming more polarised. Whether it's concerns about the safety of 5G, the efficacy of the recent US election or the use and safety of vaccines fake news and misinformation creating polarised opinions is getting more severe. The trouble is when you are online, it’s not the world you see or anyone else sees. It is a personally-curated version of reality. “Certain algorithms,” says Tim Cook, “pull you toward the things you already know, believe or like, and they push away everything else. Push back.” This is evolving in real-time, depending on your likes and dislikes, what you click on, and what you share.
At King IT we want to encourage you to take charge of your information diet. And much as you may want to laugh at the irony of an IT provider telling you to beware of algorithms, you have to admit that we have a point. So here are our few tips on escaping your echo chamber.
Stick to Reliable Sources of News
Educate yourself on which news sources are reliable, fair and well-researched. Learn the signs of fake news, and how to fact-check. Don’t share news stories that seem suspicious, just because you want to be the first person in your feed to “scoop” something.
Hide YouTube's Related Videos
YouTube is one of the worst algorithmic offenders, chaining its recommendations until you end up with some middle-aged teenager ranting about how to see through those round-earth lies with the help of a brain supplement. Hide the “related videos” section, or weed bad videos out of your viewing history to tell YouTube’s dumbarse algorithm that no, you didn’t want to see 100 more videos of cats getting scared. We can show you how to do this in-store.
Check Your Phone Less
Smartphone notifications were supposed to keep us updated on important things. But app makers easily hijacked these tools to buzz your phone for every like, comment, new friend, new follow, update, challenge, sale or free gem. Turn off notifications, hide or delete distracting apps, and encourage good habits that make your phone more than a time killer.
Block Algorithmic Rubbish
Social sites are desperate for more of your time, so they throw all kinds of recommendations at you, hoping you’ll click and read more. Sometimes you want those recommendations! It’s nice to discover an old article from a writer you love or find the related how-to post that actually solves your problem. Use apps and extensions to hide trending topics. If you don't know how, pop in the store for some help.
Stop Training the Algorithms
If you don’t take drastic measures, you can’t keep all your personal information private. But you can cut down on your information sharing by opting out of certain programs and using high-quality alternatives to default services such as Google. King IT offers a service to setup your device to do just that.
In short, don’t let the algorithms run your life. Take back your time, your attention and your thoughts.