A Thing to Consider

A Thing To Consider

Brett Gaylor with Mozilla Advocacy reminds us that this new internet is “like life, a thing to consider” and without this internet, our freedom of access to information would be so different.

Our Parts

So as I consider this thing in the light of privacy and access, I wonder about the tracks of my online life. In the Hypothes.is annotated article “Your smartphone📱is making you👈 stupid, antisocial 🙅 and unhealthy 😷. So why can’t you put it down❔⁉️helterskelliter observed


My work self and my student self and my home self do not behave or operate necessarily in the same ways but I would never consider any one separate from myself, any one “better”.


In last week’s post, Doppelganger Neighborhoods, I considered that same idea — that “parts” of us interact in different neighborhoods; they are part of the whole, as helterskelliter says “Never consider any separate from myself.”

And yet Brett reminds us, in an answer to a student’s statement of this very fear of others’ access to the “parts” we leave behind, that the algorithms of today pick us out and analyze and build a shadow of us in their biases– these algorithms do consider some and ignore other of our various parts.

[Note my code won’t work for clips after the first one. So

start at 28:07 and end at 31:37 ]

Our Choices

So, in knowing this, what choices will we make? Will we be more careful and thoughtful in what we share as well as in our interpretations of others and other ideas? Would being aware of this help us to be kinder in our responses so we act and share in ways that counteract the negatives this internet life now includes?

We are still learning the workings of this digital sharing, now introduced to bots and untruths. How will we add responses and bits of sharing that encourage “our better selves” – our bits of sharing — and bring us together? Will we decide to share AND to put the device down to have conversations in our own communities about the issues? 

In thinking about this, I considered the degrees of interactions online, and in this context of our week in our digital life, I broke the interactions into four areas:

As social beings, we love having access to our friends and family and colleagues to connect and share together.

Some people hit the buttons that push their buttons and add to the confusion and misinformation with their reactions.

Others are now aware and active in their sharing, digging deeper to find the truths and making decisions on what and when to share.

And then there are  those deliberate subversives creating division and distortion in our once information rich world.

In the smartphone article, helterskelliter worried about our internet sharing and responses and how the algorithms would evaluate us. S/he shared a video lecture by Derek Muller discussing, “Post-Truth: Why Facts Don’t Matter Anymore,” alluding to the subversive and negative aspects now inundating our once hopeful experience online with divisive distortion and misinformation. He explains how this happens:

[Note my code won’t work for clips after the first one. So

start at 6:58 and end at 8:47 ]

Our Truths

How will we come together and agree on the truth?

How will we counter the algorithms through our online and offline sharing and relationships?

I once thought  that engagement and conversation would help in discovering the truth, but consider this:

[Note start at 15:21 and end at 16:01 ]

George Lakoff [UC Berkeley professor] warns us about the way we interact with those who believe in the false narratives; by even restating them, we further their beliefs. The only way to protect the truth is by just stating the truth.

Our Parts / Our Sharing

So, I’m still thinking the best way to protect what we have and the world of access is to continue sharing, and to be active in our search for the truth and in naming the truth.

In the history of civilization, humans have stood up for what’s right — for the truth, and for freedom. In all this confusion and fear, we will do so again.

Finally, Derek Muller offers this bit of hope in search for the “signals of truth:”

[Note: start at 16:21 and end at 17:41]

How do we encourage those writing the algorithms to “look for the signal of truth?” We do as we have always done — stand and speak for the truth.

And, finally, we explain to our children to be the rider– the one in control, as Brett says:

[Note: Start at 56:13 and end at 56:36]

It’s a thing we all need to consider.

I choose to be the rider, and to be actively searching for the truth. How about you?


Degrees of Interaction by Sheri on Flickr

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