Reconstructing Our Attention in the Era of Infinite Digital Rabbit Holes

Tobias Rose-Stockwell at Literary Hub:

For the first time, the majority of information we consume as a species is controlled by algorithms built to capture our emotional attention. As a result, we hear more angry voices shouting fearful opinions and we see more threats and frightening news simply because these are the stories most likely to engage us. This engagement is profitable for everyone involved: producers, journalists, creators, politicians, and, of course, the platforms themselves.

The machinery of social media has become a lens through which society views itself—it is fundamentally changing the rules of human discourse. We’ve all learned to play this game with our own posts and content, earning our own payments in minute rushes of dopamine, and small metrics of acclaim. As a result, our words are suddenly soaked in righteousness, certainty, and extreme judgment.

More here.