“I use these platforms, I just don’t let them use me.”

Sean Parker’s recent interview with Axios has reinvigorated a centuries-in-the-making dialogue about the human brain. How we consume information has evolved as a result of inventions/advancements/changes like the printing press, the television, and most recently, the internet. Social media is a by-product of the latter.

Once might even call these inventions distractions.

In fact, David Carr, author of The Shallows – What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, did:

The distractions in our lives have been proliferating for a long time, but never has there been a medium that, like the Net, has been programmed to so widely scatter our attention and to do it so insistently.

The vulnerability of human psychology that Sean Parker alludes to is related (among other things) to impulse, our innate human need for gratification. While Parker asserts Facebook has done this intentionally, there are elements of this in most applications we use today in our daily lives.

Consider the GPS. While helpful for navigation, there are times where these systems falter: they don’t have sufficient mapping capabilities; the address is incorrect and you wind up somewhere unintentionally; it says to make a U-turn when you know you can just go left and arrive at your destination.

The point is, we have these great, complex brains and sometimes we let things take advantage of them and override their capability and strengths. The challenge is having the awareness to realize when this is happening, and adjust accordingly.

So, as Sean Parker states, use these platforms to your heart’s desire, just don’t let them use you.

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