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Internet is Making You Stupid

by Taewoo Kim on March 5, 2014 · 12 comments

It was 1993.

I remember walking into the dingy weather lab on the 3rd floor of Bronx High School of Science (in Bronx. NY).

This is where the nerds hung out.

(I was one, but i never admitted it until I was 30.)

Web 2.0? This was geekdom 0.0.

I recently learned about dialup modem, SLIRP, loading your own TCP/IP stack, 2400 baud modems, ytalk (the REAL O.G. of real time chat), and yes… windows 3.0.

You know why I loved the internet?

Because you got to see stuf that you normally would NEVER have without internet.

We’re talking information from the other side of the world, in a split second.

Chatting with people on the other side of the hemisphere through BBS’ and exchanging ideas & thoughts real time through IRC.

I mean, that’s nothing now, but hell, it was freaking’ awesome.

Fast forward 20 years… what is internet full of?

Funny cats, babies, pictures of food, porn, games, and of course, mindless shit like UpWorthy and BuzzFeed.

All that cool stuff we tech nerds prided in… all became another TV channel, full of useless mindless stuff that we don’t wanna be associated with.

 

Relevance = Self-Affirming Egotism

Google.. Facebook… Instagram…

All these content channels are showing you what you click on.

Why? Because they are relevant.

If you are logged in, you’ll notice that your SERP (search engine results page) is much different than if you were not logged in .. or worse, different from your friends:

 

All in the name of serving you what’s “relevant” for you, these search engines and social networks are filtering your information FOR you.

Now, is this fair?

I don’t know. You tell me.

Here’s the thing: do you click on things that make you feel uncomfortable & might not necessarily agree with your point of view in life?

Or do you skip them?

Your actions “train” these companie’s massive data center & their “brain” (i.e. algorithms) to filter the information they show you.

Why? Because they want you to stay engaged and come back, so that they can make more money showing you ads.

In the old days when the journalist used to write all kinds of crazy shit to just to sell their papers, people got all mad and called for “truth in journalism”.

Yes back in the day, the humans were the gatekeepers to information… whose interests lied in sync with advertisers.

People have grown to be sarcastic and even wary of what the traditional media say.

So now they “trust” the social media because it’s supposedly unfiltered.

Right.

Remmeber, Google & Facebook are the OLD media… their interest lies in sync with.. *drum roll* with the advertisers!

Personalized results? Facebook feed “algorithm”

That’s another way of saying … “we control your information to show you what WE think is relevant for YOU”.

Instead of humans filtering your information, now ROBOTS filter them FOR you.

And what happens when robots filter your information for you?

They show you what YOU and your friends click on.

In another words, show you stuff that affirms who you are, what you believe, and what you prefer in life.

But not just you… YOUR FRIENDS!

(if your friends are dumb asses, oh shit.. you’re bound to see more lolcats, stupid babies, ridiculous selfies, etc.)

No wonder my Facebook feed is full of baby crap (no offense to my friends who are parents, but your baby ain’t THAT cute.. and no i don’t wanna see  your lizard looking baby 24×7).

 

They show you whatever is the most popular.

No, the internet doesn’t filter information based on what you see… it’s based on what you like and who you are.

In another words, internet is turning into another TV.. where the information is being made & delivered to whatever serves the masses. Even if they maybe stupid as shit and a huge waste of time.

 

No, This Will Not Change

Money is too good.

Social media sites and search engines are making way too much money from this idiotic sharecroppping where the content creators make all this useless content in exchange for ad revenue from the almighty online channels.

These supposed “do-gooders” of the world (“organize the world’s information”… “connect everyone on earth”) have gotten used to the taste of money, and they’re not going to change any time soo.

So how do you combat this?

Sure you can turn off search engine result personalization… stop visiting social media sites… but all in all, you really can’t.

The world is full of bored idiots who will click on useless shit, and there are more of them than there are of you smart marketers & entrepreneurs who actually might care.

So what do you do?

Take advantage of this trend.

It ain’t going anywhere. Might as well make some money with it.

(And if you’re lost for idea, join my newsletter.. I have some ideas you might like.)

 

 

Let’s do an experiment

Right now, there’s a war about to brew in Russia & Ukraine.

Take a screenshot of google search results for “russia ukraine” and post it in the comments.

One while logged into Google and one while logged out.

I’d love to see what you guys see that i’m not seeing.

 

PS: IN case any of you thought this sounded familiar.. yes, this is very similar to that TED talk by Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” and Veritsium’s The Problem with Facebook.

 

 

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 29 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.


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{ 12 comments }

1 bim limbu

internet is the most valu in this world.

2 Edgar

The internet the only place where you can be who ever you want to be.

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom god has so join together, let no man put asunder.

3 Mike Power

The internet doesn’t make anyone “stupid” but it does give a platform to stupid people. However, it is easy to avoid them. Just like it’s easy to avoid ads. What you decide to use the internet for is up to you. I use FB and Twitter etc but not exclusively. Yes, there is a ton of rubbish out there but there is also a ton of useful, interesting stuff that would never be accessible to the average person without the internet. For instance, I spent a couple of hours last night checking out sites related to neuroscience. Found some incredibly interesting stuff. I also check out lots of design sites and every day brings new, fascinating stuff I would simply never have found without the net.

There are lots of browsers out there, some extremely specialised, and it is possible to look for and find plenty of interesting content without even seeing an ad. I have no ads on my FB pages and I use Adblocker when browsing in general. As for making money from idiots, I’d rather not, thanks. Internet marketing aimed at people who want to lose belly-fat, find a kidney cleansing diet, develop a six-pack in three weeks? No. I’d rather flip burgers if I had to.

4 faisal

The independence of the internet has gone for a toss.

5 Princewill

The best thing to happen to this Age is the internet, yeah it does have its pros and cons but its advantages far out weighs its disadvantages..

If you want to be stupid oh, the internet will help you get the best out of stupidity, if you want to be useful, there is never been a better platform than the internet..

It doesn’t make me stupid, I beg to differ with that Headline… Thanks for sharing on kingged.com

6 Sunday

Its pretty clear that Google pretty much offer us what it relevant to us.

This simply implies that the search engine uses us to get what it wants. The quote from Eric Schmidt readily tells it all.

I have shared this comment in kingged.com, where I found this content shared, syndicated, and bookmarked for Internet marketers.

Sunday – kingged.com contributor

http://kingged.com/internet-is-making-you-stupid/

Shoemoney 7 Tre

There are so many trolls on the internet. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother going on it. I avoid public forums at all costs.

Shoemoney 8 Pablo E

The internet is truly making us stupider. Before we used to acutally have to think about the answer to something but now all we have to go is get on our phones or smart phones and bam there is the answer. It is miracle anyone can even do math or remember the capital of their own’s state anymore. Freaking idiots.

Shoemoney 9 Larissa

I’m just waiting for the world to turn into a real life ‘Idiocracy’. The film sadly is probably a farily accurate portryal of soceity’s future.

Shoemoney 10 Tigh

I used to think that internet addiction was a total joke, but the way that we can’t just stay unplugged makes me feel other wise. Once every three months I just take a week off from all social media just to get perspecitve of what it’s like to not be tuned into everything all the time.

11 Tyrone Spencer

It definitely is amazing what these algorithms can do. I don’t know if I would say the internet is making us stupider but maybe lazier.

12 education India

Great articles.

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