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Social media is not for Kruse

By David Kruse - Columnist | Nov 2, 2020

Social media is not for Kruse

I guess that I must be almost the exception today as I made a conscious choice a long time ago to limit my participation in the social media. I have never had a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tik Tok or any other social media account. I have had many reasons for not doing so. First off, I have to manage my time and my waking hours are filled without gawking at a screen carried around everywhere that I went. I have also seen too many people forget who they were posting to (the world) and say some pretty stupid unguarded things that come back to haunt them decades later when context has been lost.

Next…I do not want to be tracked that closely where my every choice is monitored by artificial intelligence feeding me my next thoughts. I have recommended a good read from time to time. This time I recommend watching “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. It is a documentary on the reality of social media and how much of the public is now caught in the matrix who did not know that there was a matrix and how their thoughts and knowledge is being manipulated by artificial intelligence employed by the social media platforms. You cannot entirely escape it unless you fell off the grid. I sit in front of a computer screen enough of the day and use the internet so that I am being collaterally impacted by the algorithms. The internet knows that I like guns, dogs, and military history. You-tube feeds me more of what they have learned that I want to see.

I get my news from straight traditional sources …NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC and the like. Same for newsprint and periodicals like this one. It is the fake news that calls those sources fake news. If you think that that sounds like I am manipulated you have no idea how manipulated that it can get. Newscasts that I absorb are the same for all viewers. These networks are not tailoring their news specifically for David Kruse like the news providers on the social media do their users. Social media platforms feed the user news after they have determined what the specific user wants to see so that they can increase the user activity. The news that I see on Fox or CNN is the same news that you will get. If you are allowing political extremists such as republicans or democrats to feed you your news you are in the matrix. It is hard to escape from. I get criticized as only watching CNN by those that I am quite sure only watch Fox. They are wrong about me. Am I wrong about them? When a major news story hits I often purposely flip cable channels to see how differently they handle it. There is often a gulf of difference. Social media users tend not to look around, instead using tunnel visions shaped by their provider. I am amused when these people often say that they think for themselves. They are clueless as to how manipulated that they really are. People like like-mindedness. That is why the ratings of both FOX and MSNBC have gone up while CNN ratings have sagged. CNN is not extreme enough for many viewers.

“The Social Dilemma” opens with a quote from Sophocles. “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” It reads darkly, referring to the corrosive influence of technology on the individual and society. The docudrama shows ex-employees of Silicon Valley giants perched anxiously on stools and sharing ethical concerns about the systems they helped to create. They include Tristan Harris, previously a design ethicist at Google; Bailey Richardson, a former member of Instagram’s community team; Tim Kendall, the one-time president of Pinterest; and Justin Rosenstein, a software programmer who helped create the Facebook “Like” button.” One interesting caveat is that these tech creators had no idea what the collateral impact of what they were building would have on society. They all had good intentions. They are now appalled and shocked about where artificial intelligence that is driving these platforms is taking us. It is no coincidence that the gapping polarization that the country is experiencing coincided with the public explosion of use of the social media. When you hear zealots explain their political positions, knowing how they are manipulated on social media, it becomes obvious how they were arrived at and from hence they came. These conspiracy theories only exist on the social media.

Here is a quote. “People think ‘Google’s just a search box and Facebook’s just a place to see what my friends are doing and see their photos’. “What they don’t realize is they’re competing for your attention…Social media isn’t a tool that’s just waiting to be used. It has its own goals and it has its own means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you.” I do google. That opens me to some manipulation. The documentary showed that for example, if you ask google the question, “Climate change is…”, it will deliver the user an answer based on the data they have on that user, where they live and what that the artificial intelligence expects that they want to hear. Google is prepared to answer that question a myriad of different ways depending on who you are and what they know about you which is a lot. They create a mindset and then they feed it. If you are a climate change denier or a climate activist, google knows your predisposition enough to feed it with the answers they think you want.

Here is my conclusion. The views created and expressed on the CommStock report are not formulated by my use of the social media. I have never tweeted and never directly gotten one. I am sure that some would chuckle over a joke about the intelligence of the report but the CommStock report is not derived from logarithms managed by artificial intelligence. From some responses that I get, that cannot be said for others.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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