Does your Newsfeed make you angry? Are you sick of posts about scandals and fear mongering? It’s time to detox your Newsfeed.
You’ve joined the judgement free community of Ai Parenting live, we help families move from Screen Time to Quality by helping them understand that Ai is really just a system about replicating the past. If we understand the past we will be surprised at how well it predicts the future.
You may have heard about Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation experiment on 700K people in 2014. They were studying something called “emotional contagion”. They asked the question: “would manipulating the content people saw on their Newsfeed lead them to change the status updates they made?” The answer was a resounding yes! More negative news feeds leads to move negative status messages and more positive news feeds leads to more positive status messages .
Today we’ll show you how to manipulation your own mood and mindset by Detoxing your Newsfeed and your video feeds. This skill is a part of the foundations of Ai course that I’m offering at Ai Parenting live, so if you want to learn how to move from screen time to quality time visit AiParenting.live.
The understand our Newsfeeds today we need to first understand the history of Tabloids. The three questions we’re wondering about today are
- Why does my Newsfeed make me angry?
- Why is there so much Fake News?
- 5 ways to Detox your Newsfeed
Why does my newsfeed make me angry?
The 1940s was an exciting time for a young writer in Australia. As a boy whose father worked in news he learned how certain headlines tended to sell better. People loved buying headlines related to sports, scandals, and celebrity relationships. Headlines that interrupted patterns, left the reader curious, and told people what they wanted to hear tended to fly off the shelves. So when his father gave control of his Adelaide Newspaper in the 1950s he turned these editorial best-practices into the way they did business .
This turned out to be very successful, newspapers were flying off the shelves and by the 1960s this local Newspaper was looking to buy News companies throughout Australia and around the world. By the 1970s he became a US citizen so that he could own US Television Stations which grew into television networks like Fox in the 1980s and sports programs the like NFL in the 1990s .
The broad reach of his newspapers meant that they held great power over political elections in Australia, the UK, and the United States. His support was credited with victories leading up the elections of US Presidents such as Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. This influence also had a direct impact on news regulations such as those prohibiting one person from owning a television station and a newspaper in the same market .
By now you’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about media magnate Rupert Murdoch who has been credited as ‘Inventing the modern Tabloid’ by the Economist . You may be wondering what this has to do with Ai and what we see in our Newsfeed.
Well these same principles were applied to the Internet in the 2000s when Murdoch’s News Corp acquired the Internet Social Media platform MySpace and later International Gaming News (IGN). Many media companies including Group 9 that owns Thrillist, NowThis, Seeker apply the same modern Tabloid style headlines that worked in the 1950s.
So if you’re curious about why your Newsfeed has articles related to scandals or curiosity driven headlines that keep you hooked for hours you have the Modern tabloid to thank.
So this section was about how media today on the Internet is the same as the past, now let’s look at the rise of Fake News.
Why is there so much fake news?
In the ACM CHI 2018 conference I had a chance to interview Wikimedia Foundation’s Sue Gardner who did an insightful presentation on the rise of Fake News. The sales of Supermarket Tabloids has long indicated that people value headlines that fit what they want to see or what they suspected even if it is not true. So let’s look at what Sue Gardner had to say and let’s talk about it .
Sue explained why Fake News tends be spread more virally than real news. It fits with what people want to hear. Titles like ‘Popeyes manager arrested for allegedly dipping chicken in cocaine based flour to increase business sales’  or ‘Death Row inmate eats an entire Bible as his last meal’ is WAY more compelling than real world headlines like ‘Olympics represent Djokovic’s time to shine brightest‘ .
An Ai that is set up to get more comments, shares, and watch time will not be fine tuned to look for things like Fake News. This is one of the reasons why tens of thousands of human reviews had to be employed by BigTech companies like YouTube and Facebook as Ai often has a hard time determining the difference between real and fake news. I had the opportunity to Interview Professor Sarah Roberts on this topic. Let’s see what she had to say .
While it helps to have people moderating news it doesn’t mean that we won’t see fake news in our Newsfeed. I still regularly get Fake News sent to me and still rely on Fact checking tools like Snopes or PolitiFact that looks into the validity of these sensational headlines.
Now let’s look at 5 ways that you can Detox your Newsfeed.
5 ways to detox your newsfeed
Ai is looking at the history of our watch time, comments, and shares. The concept is that what was interesting to you in the past will be interesting to you in the future. This means that it tries to keep you in the mindset that you had maybe 2, 5, or even 10 years ago. You’d be surprised at how much your Newsfeed tells about your past interests.
For example, looking at my own YouTube recommended videos I could see videos on Tech, Politics, and Video Creation. So what can we do if we want to change the way we think about ourselves and the world? Remember the Facebook mood experiment? We are not more important than our environment. Even video thumbnails can impact your thinking so let’s look at how we can detox our Newsfeed.
Start a New Profile
Not enough people do this. This underrated detox that doesn’t even require you to delete your existing social media or email addresses. Start brand new email and social media accounts can have a huge impact on your mindset.
Imagine being able to choose content that relates to your current goals without being drawn in to things that you had watched in the past. It’s the equivalent of being born again on the Internet. As far as the Ai is concerned you are a new person with new goals.
For example, when I started Ai Parenting I created a brand new email address and YouTube channel rather than working off my main profile. I only watched videos related to BigTech, Privacy, and Ai and this would expose me to really great content that I’ve been able to share with you live.
Mute Toxic Friends
Maybe you have a big following and want to keep your existing profiles. If that’s the case then one of the best ways may be to remove or mute friends that post mostly negative news. You can like them as a person from a distance, and you don’t need to follow their every move.
There’s a fear of loss especially on platforms like Instagram where if you unfollow people you have to ask their permission to follow again. That said, if you don’t feel comfortable unfriending someone you can always mute their posts.
Studies have shown that we are greatly influenced by the 5 people that we are closest to. If you created an account with only 5 friends who would you want those people to be? Choose wisely because we can’t control the impact they have on our unconscious thoughts. The method of starting a new account works as well so that you can choose who want to follow rather than just have a bunch of updates that are not helping you.
Engage with Content you like
Now that you’ve created the profile and chosen your friends, the next step is to engage with the people that you want to connect with the most. These could be influencers that you really admire or groups that show you what you are made of.
Spending more time on posts will tell the Ai that you want to see more content like this. It will help put their content at the top of your feed. On some platforms like Twitter or YouTube you can add a bell to be notified whenever a new post arrives. There’s also the concept of close friends which could do the same.
Remember who are friends are is not enough to determine what we want to have on our feed, so train the Ai on the content that you do like so that you’ll be able to get more of it.
For example, if meditation is an important part of your morning routine spend more time watching those posts, like them and you’ll have a stead stream of new meditation videos that you can use the next day.
Skip or Mute Content you Don’t like
Just as it’s important to engage with content that you like it’s also important to disengage with content that you don’t like. This means limiting your watch time or pressing Mute on posts that you don’t want to see. This is not easy because our suggestions may come from things that our friends like which could be stuff that you are trying to avoid.
This is an exercise in self regulation that is quite healthy, it makes you feel like you control your Newsfeed and that your Newsfeed doesn’t control you. Another benefit of this is that it can help you get immersed in the content that you need to watch, rather than be torn away from content that is a distraction from your goals.
Training our Newsfeed is going to be an important skill on par with learning how to code or how to meditate.
Delete Social Media Apps off your Phone
Now you might not have the time to actively manage your Newsfeed, so another way to increase your productivity is to install a Chrome extension called kill the Facebook Newsfeed. This plugin allows you to still use groups and connect with other on messenger without the Ai distraction of the Newsfeed.
Author of the ‘4 hour work week’ Tim Ferris posted a video on how to use your phone so that it doesn’t use you. His advice was to delete the Facebook app from your phone, many other successful YouTubers like Casey Neistat advocate for doing the same.
Now I don’t have the notification insanity of Casey or Tim but I followed this practice and deleted Facebook from my phone. As an ADHD parent I can say that it’s been really refreshing because I’m more easily distracted than most.
I found that most of what I need to do on Social Media I could do it quicker from an iPad. So the Social media apps that I didn’t need were deleted from my phone. I deleted any social app that wasn’t essential to my business. Try it. I’m pretty confident that the benefits you notice for your own mindset will meant that you won’t feel the urge to go back.
Ai Parenting Webinar
From the bottom of our hearts thank you for joining Ai Parenting Family. It’s been 7 months and our baby is just about ready. I’m talking about our upcoming Webinar on a Drivers License for the Internet. Since the beginning of this year it’s been our dream to create an Ai curriculum that will help our children thrive in the future. With over 1/2 of GenZ workers freelancing on platforms like UpWork and Fiverr we need to know how to work when our boss is not a person but an Ai. They will learn how coding is the new Law and data is the new Vote in this Ai managed world.
If you’d like an exclusive sneak peek into my upcoming webinar, you can sign up to be an Ai Parenting Insider to get the inside scoop along with some tools to move from Screen Time to Quality Time.
We wish your family the best rest of day, see you next week where we will explore the all important topic of negotiation with our children using insights from FBI Chief Negotiator Chris Voss.
- Facebook’s secret mood manipulation experiment https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/everything-we-know-about-facebooks-secret-mood-manipulation-experiment/373648/
- Murdoch and the Tabloid https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
- Last of the Moguls https://www.economist.com/leaders/2011/07/21/last-of-the-moguls?story_id=18988526
- Sue Gardner on Fake news https://youtu.be/LDUB3T7_GW8?t=592
- Top Fake News Headlines of 2017 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/craigsilverman/these-are-50-of-the-biggest-fake-news-hits-on-facebook-in
- Real Headline https://nationalpost.com/sports/olympics/olympics-djokovics-time-to-shine
- Prof Sarah Roberts on Human News Moderation https://youtu.be/R-vn5dOqDKU
- Tim Ferriss on Social Media https://youtu.be/4NgtEfg3vJk