5 Recent Thoughts About the Internet

1)  Since making this blog public I find myself caught up in a feedback loop.  I started this blog as a way to express my thoughts.  At first it felt pure of purpose. I would just write and this blog could give me a way to write what I am thinking about.  I have changed though in just the short time since I started publishing this blog.  WordPress includes analytics and I can see what posts get the most reads.  I say I am caught up in feedback loop because right now I feel very caught up in the number of Likes I get.  I promote my blog through facebook and I can see which posts get the most views.  The analytics on WordPress show me what days people are reading my blog and what posts are the most popular.  As a side note, I don’t think this will be one of my more popular posts, but it might resonate with some people.

2) The internet as a subject has been on my mind and I have been reading books about it.  In May, I read a great book.  It is called: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. It is a non-fiction book where the author interviews people who have been publicly shamed on the internet for posts they have made on twitter and facebook and the repressions that went on to affect them for long after most people had forgotten about their transgressions.  Oddly, after reading this book about people who said things that were too honest or too free did I make the decision to publicly promote my blog.  I think I felt free to express my thoughts by sharing my blog because I saw how bad things could actually get for people.  Sometimes it is freeing to get a glimpse of the worst case scenario.

I just started reading another book about the internet. It is called Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.  This books was written by a former data scientist at Google and economist whose book premise is that everybody lies and he has data from their Google searches to prove it.  By analyzing large numbers of google search histories collectively we can learn things about our culture.

3) Even though I have been thinking a lot about the internet and reading about it, I feel reluctant to comment on it on facebook. I also feel reluctant to comment on most charged subjects on facebook. Recently, a facebook friend re-posted an article on facebook about how the facebook algorithm rewards extreme behavior and extreme statements.  I am sure that this is true. It seems like when extreme things happen or are said they get shared at a greater rate. However, the feedback loop that is people liking posts and sharing posts rewards moderate or even bland posts more than extreme behavior. I know from anecdotal evidence that people “like” more of my posts that include Patrick and the mundane aspects of life. I know that on some level is it because Patrick is cute; it is not about what I am saying or expressing. Yet I think they are also liking that I am expressing something that does not challenge them. It allows them to look at baby pictures and zone out.  However, I have also had the experience where I have made a post about something that I was actually thinking about and have gotten no responses.

4) I feel reluctant to comment on most charged subjects or even reposts of articles on facebook because I think people just want you to validate their opinions.  Don’t we post of facebook or our blog or twitter because we want people to agree with us? I know that I do, I think if people did not agree with me I would probably not prefer it.

5) The dependence I feel on facebook now because of my blog is a bit unsettling for me.  Before Patrick was born I would take long breaks from facebook.  It felt good for me to not be dependant on facebook.  I liked that I did not feel like I had to use it. After Patrick’s birth, facebook became a way for me to connect since I was now a stay-at-home mom, but I could still go days without looking at it. Now that I have a blog though, the feedback loop of posting about my blog and hoping that people read it makes me feel like I cannot take long facebook breaks anymore. Facebook has become an essential for me, a necessary evil. I am not sure this is the best situation.

What to know the anecdote for thinking about the internet too much?  Biking!!!  This cleared my head so much this morning.

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