Here’s the first YouTube video that caught my attention today:
Prepper Potpourri offers an important reminder that we live in an aggressive media influencer environment, especially online. Everyone online is influenced by what things pop up on their screens when we click on sites, from the content, to the order of the results in a search engine, to the ubiquitous ads that litter our screens. On TV, the commercial breaks were more obvious, but product placement in movies and in TV shows became a merchandising battlefield. This transcends to sports too, where athletes don certain brands, and ads surround everything from race tracks to ice-skating rinks.
The debate over algorithms has taken on partisan political overtones in recent years. Beyond the marketing aspect, we are all influenced by what we see and hear, but it’s very easy to seek out and gravitate to consuming information that feeds our own beliefs, opinions, concerns and yes, even fears. A lot of people want their fears validated and will seek out ways to prove their fears are reasonable and rational. Funny thing though, if you wander down more and more fearmongering/alarmist information rabbit holes, you could end up living in Alice in Wonderland.. or worse.
With the “shapeshifters” online, well, I have to work constantly to rein in my online shopping impulses, especially since I became more concerned about shortages. I also have to guard against getting alarmed, with so much content geared toward inciting anger and fear. There are endless videos and comments warning about shortages and people offering advice on what to buy and where to buy things, trying to stock up before the mass panic-buying starts. Here’s the thing, I think there are plenty of preppers, who live in panic-buying mode every day and at the first rumor of an item becoming in short-supply, they’re racing to beat the crowd. I’ve been thinking about this shopping behavior for myself, because I can’t possibly make prudent spending decisions, if I react every day to new warnings about items (and lists) of shortages, then rush out to buy those items. Sure, stocking up on those items isn’t a bad thing, but my budget doesn’t allow for me to shop like that. And I don’t want to live like that.
I am trying to cut back on my screen time and enjoy the sunshine and real life, away from the TMI online culture and algorithms.