Naz Hamid

Journal

Follow vs. Block

Jan 2, 2024

In the beginning, you followed someone to see their content in your feed.

Now, you block someone to remove them from your feed.

That’s the price of an endless algorithmic feed designed to keep you in-app or on-platform, entertained, and eventually (if not already) monetized.

A much larger cognitive dissonance is at play here, reflecting on social norms and pushing us into a stage of non-tolerance. Any minor disagreement is swiftly shut out and removed (and frankly, in today's world, much of the negative content out there should be). The world is far messier than this simple binary, and the values of compromise and cooperation must be actively pursued. Nevertheless, it's not surprising that we find ourselves at a level of discourse that is difficult for people to engage with and tolerate. Social media has eroded all decorum and emboldened the worst in us.

Social media incentivizes such behavior because its primary directive is to deliver the most eyeballs to the most advertisers. This transformation has turned creators into salespeople and elevated influencers and platform clout to the ultimate badges of honor. Game mechanics and the allure of some form of fame play a significant role, don't they?

As a result, the algorithm is designed to spotlight voices and opinions that disregard decency and safety in favor of whatever excites the feed, whatever garners the most views, with no checks in place to consider the fallout of blunt instruments wielded with no skill.

Instead of raising the collective consciousness to a higher standard, encouraging understanding and acceptance, we are simply pitted against each other in a fervent race to see who can exert the most influence.

It’s a zero-sum game. Don’t participate. Find a space to call your own, and make real connections.

technology