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the algos between us


I watched this video by Kristoffer Lislegaard and it gave me a thought about a thing that's easy to miss and I would have missed, so I'm grateful to him for posting on YT.

Like every sane person these days, I surf with additional extensions to block unwanted content like videos following me as I scroll, hide various nags and stuff getting in my face like Google login, popups, etc., basically "fix the internet". On any new platform, I switch off algorithmic suggestions, where I can.

This is what my Youtube homepage looks like:

Youtube homepage screenshot

This solves the problem of algorithmic noise and distractions for me personally, but it doesn't solve it for people I'd like to connect to, who end up seeing some of their favourite things plus all the algorithmic garbage, i.e. less of their favourite things, and, in this day, increasingly more algorithmic garbage.

My Instagram (hard to leave, I know) has a similar issue. Leaving Facebook and Twitter solved a mental bandwidth issue for me alone. None of these did anything for my audience – for the people I'd like to connect with. They, You, are still subjected to the same barrage of suggestions, distractions, adverts, and other general direct or side effects of what is pure product enshittification, the algorithms aggressively inserted between us, installed by people who have nothing to do with art, or with human connection for that matter.

I don't think this needs to stop, because I think that's an unrealistic goal or notion, one that is too late, and that is not desired anyway. But if one person reads my text and it prompts them to review their content settings and attempt to dial the distractions down, and their own agency up, then I'd be happy, and this post would have all the purpose.

Feeds, the clue is in the name, are there to give us moar content. Taking moar will always be easier than sifting through a bunch of global trend stuff and choosing what you, yourself, actually care about (as opposed to what the algo thinks you're likely to engage with).

We need our agency, stat. Not even long term, but now.

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