Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rajeshsound
In part 1 of this post – I spoke of a personal exoerience read here – https://rajeshsound.com/why-should-parents-worry-about-mass-personalisation-or-should-they/https://rajeshsound.com/why-should-parents-worry-about-mass-personalisation-or-should-they/
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and entertainment. We have access to a variety of platforms and sources that cater to our preferences and interests. We can choose what we want to see, hear, and read. Sounds great, right?
But what if this choice is actually limiting us? What if this personalized content is creating a bubble around us that prevents us from seeing the bigger picture? What if this bubble is making us more unhappy, isolated, and depressed?
This is what I believe is happening to many of us, especially the younger generation. We are trapped in a cycle of consuming content that reinforces our existing beliefs, opinions, and emotions. We are not exposed to different perspectives, challenges, or opportunities. We are not learning, growing, or changing. We are stuck in a rut.
Let me explain how this works. When we use social media, streaming services, or search engines, we are often presented with content that is tailored to our preferences and behaviour. These platforms use algorithms that analyse our data and history to predict what we will like and engage with. They then show us more of the same content, or content that is similar or related to it.
This creates a feedback loop that shapes our online experience. The more we consume content that matches our taste, the more we are satisfied and rewarded. The more we are satisfied and rewarded, the more we consume content that matches our taste. And so on.
This feedback loop can have positive effects, such as enhancing our connection, self-expression, and enjoyment. But it can also have negative effects, such as reducing our diversity, curiosity, and critical thinking. It can also affect our mental health in various ways.
One of the ways is by creating echo chambers and filter bubbles. Echo chambers are online spaces where we only interact with people who share our views and opinions. Filter bubbles are online spaces where we only see information that confirms our views and opinions. These spaces can make us feel comfortable and validated, but they can also make us feel isolated and polarized. They can also make us less tolerant and more hostile to those who disagree with us.
Another way is by inducing frequent and extreme upward social comparison. Upward social comparison is when we compare ourselves to others who are better than us in some aspect. This can motivate us to improve ourselves, but it can also make us feel inferior and insecure. When we are exposed to curated and edited feeds of other people’s lives, we are vulnerable to this kind of comparison. We may feel that we are not good enough, not successful enough, not attractive enough, or not happy enough. We may develop low self-esteem, depressed mood, and decreased life satisfaction.
A third way is by influencing our mood and emotions. Our mood and emotions can affect how we perceive and react to the world. They can also be affected by the content we consume. When we consume content that matches our mood and emotions, we may feel more intense and prolonged feelings. For example, if we are sad and we listen to sad songs, we may feel more sad. If we are excited and we watch exciting videos, we may feel more excited. This can be beneficial or harmful, depending on the context and the outcome. Sometimes, we may need to change our mood and emotions, rather than reinforce them. Sometimes, we may need to experience a range of mood and emotions, rather than stick to one.
These are some of the ways that personalized content can ruin our mental health. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can break free from this cycle and reclaim our online experience. We can do this by being more mindful and intentional about the content we consume. We can do this by seeking out content that is diverse, challenging, and inspiring. We can do this by balancing our online and offline activities. We can do this by taking care of ourselves and our well-being.
Personalized content is not inherently bad. It can be useful and enjoyable. But it can also be harmful and addictive. We need to be aware of the potential risks and benefits. We need to be in control of our choices and actions. We need to be responsible for our mental health.