Confronting the Social Media Menace

Part 2 – Reduce engagements - Do not become a slave of notifications and alerts

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Part 2 – Reduce engagements – Do not become a slave of notifications and alerts

Social Media is not just about reaching people with posts, Ads or any other messages; its success depends on engagement which means the more they keep your attention towards it they are more successful in manipulating your minds, thoughts and thinking the way they want you to think.

In the past authoritarian and dictatorial regimes would force people with physical assaults to do what they wanted them to do but now there is mental, psychological assaults under which they make you think the way they want you to think and then you will yourself do as per the thinking.

To do this, they use the term “Engagement” which means when you get any post or message on social media it does not remain unidirectional, whereby you only see or listen but do not react. Engagement demands that you react, which adds a point to your user model matrix that you have interest in this subject or content type, so now they have the next engine “Recommendation” kicking in, which we will discuss in next episode.

The way you engage on social media is through several ways:

  1. Likes: You express your interest in a positive way (if dislike is present then negative). In either case you show your interest
  2. Follow or subscribe: You are ardently interested in this type of content and you want to become a part of this content community or would like to get notified when any new content comes up.
  3. Comment: This means you have some view, opinion on this content hence you are into the subject more.
  4. Share: You are excited, passionate about this content and you want others also to see, listen or read it.
  5. Call to Action: You want to know more about this; hence you click on any action tab like Learn more, call us, contact us or visit website or page

Any action you take from above means you have some interest in that subject and within social media there is a copy of your character getting built up. The more you engage the more your character model becomes closer to your reality. Just imagine a painting artist who paints your portrait, he is looking at your face precisely and every different spot he sees pencils it. Same way social media looks at your actions and based on your actions it pencils down your thinking, orientation and inclination.

You have engaged, but will you remain engaged further, how attentive you are towards this content? This is where the system of “Notifications” and Alerts starts to manage you. Today mostly if you visit any news website it pops up with a consent whether you would like them to send you alerts. Everyone wants you to be glued with them. Imagine the number of alerts, notifications you will get if you are following 100’s of pages, websites, people and this could  be a heavy loading on your brain which keeps on distracting from your chores as you see alerts, notifications popping up on your mobile screen and emails. The more you get notified and alerted the probability goes higher for you to click those notifications and get further engaged. Eventually you are turning into a digital slave of alerts and notifications.

Have you not experienced that while you are praying, you get an alert on mobile and mind distracts? You are in sitting in mosque listening to sermons and there you see alerts, notifications coming from Facebook, YouTube that your friend has uploaded a new post, picture or video. There goes your mind away from what you were doing. You are sitting in gatherings with family or friends either your message keeps on beeping or even in silent, screen lock mode pops are coming and distracting you.

Let us present few tips by which you can save yourself from this menace and keep your mind at peace and focused on your other essential activities, family time and remain attentive in your worship and religious activities.

  1. Disable all alerts, notifications and unsubscribe from any and every channel, page, site which is not having content that is religiously essential which means specifically for your spiritual progress or education.
  2. God has given us a will and choice, do not allow Social media to enchain us with alerts and drag us towards what they want us to do, instead you decide what you want to view, listen and read. And then visit those pages and places on internet by choice and not digital psychological force.
  3. Do not allow any notification (even from WhatsApp) to pop up when your mobile screen is locked. Whenever you need to see, you should by your own choice open the chat window and see what has come for you.
  4. Stop liking, disliking posts apart from those which are religious and become a subject matter engager only and the most important subject is anything related to our faith and journey of perfection towards our Lord.
  5. Do not comment on posts just for the sake of “Me too” or to express your presence. This is self-love. This is a test of your inner self. If you are jumping into every discussion, post and arguments then your self is very weak and you are prone to be victimized by your carnal self easily. If there is something really which you want others to know about the post then only comment and again stick to your subject of interest and not just everywhere, anywhere else Social media will change your interest.
  6. Stop sharing your posts to everyone. Think its not just you many others are sharing the same post and every post. If there is something really worth for your friends to know then pause, think if this is something really viral then they will receive it sooner or later, then don’t share. Remove this attitude of short-term rewards (by being first on sharing) which itself is a disease of carnal self (Nafs e Ammar, the provoking inner self to do wrong and evils). If you have to share then be very selective with whom you share. It is unethical to make groups, channels and just keep on sharing posts after posts to everyone.

Remember any service which is given free to us means we are the product being sold to someone. Our behaviors, interests, attitudes are all captured and sold to corporations for pushing adverts, to politicians for polarization and to secret services to curb social activities. They want you to engage more so that they can drag your attention from real purpose of life towards beastly life and now our job is fight this out by minimizing our engagements on social media.




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