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– Social media hinges off of algorithms. Algorithms prioritize dramatic content because it evokes emotional impulse. Therefore, the bulk of what you see in your feeds is the most visceral, sensational, and jarring information. That also applies to the news. You only get the black and white hues now, very few shades of grey.

– We know too much. Let me rephrase that. We’ve been given too much knowledge at once, with little guidance on context and usage. The Internet disassembled power structures and broke down walls guarding information, which is a great thing. But, we are now arming ourselves with weapons we aren’t prepared to use. We’re self-taught experts on medicine and science, overnight masters of sociology and politics. It’s a lot to take on, wrap our heads around, let alone master. Yet, we’re wielding this information around like a flamethrower.  Like handing a kid an AK-47 and telling him there’s a war outside.

– Humans are no match for the weight of the Internet. We are designed for personal interactions and organic cultural builds. The Internet not only expedites phenomena, it lassoes everyone together and swings them like a wrecking ball. When we make decisions, we move as an urgent, hasty mass: trends, social policy, shaming declarations… When we fail, there aren’t a few close members in the community to chastise us. Now, we have thousands – if not millions – collectively sitting on us at once. There is little allowance – or time – allotted for free, independent thought in this exercise. The staggering anxiety and ensuing mental health breakdowns are unsurprising.

– You will be affected by a world at the mercy of social media extremes, but you don’t have to participate in its reckless violence.

1) Read headlines as the most severe versions of themselves. Digest a range of opinions on the subject matter before you formulate your own conclusion. Once you reach the ending, break it down and start over again.

2) Although, sometimes, you gotta let the experts handle it. It’s their practice and art. It’s also their worry and stress to carry, not your burden to bear. Equipping yourself with superfluous knowledge doesn’t mean you’re any safer or more in control. In fact, it’s the opposite.

3) Be mindful that social media truncates thoughts into binary expressions. Like there are only two buckets. Remember that humans are complicated, vast, and beautiful. We each hold a spectrum of beliefs and opinions, constantly in flux. We are oceans and canyons and can’t be summarized in a tweet.

This is how to do the Internet.

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