Unfiltered Thoughts: Tech

We grew up with it all around us! In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a person on this platform who isn’t regularly engaging with technology.

It’s how we communicate and connect, schedule our lives, keep ourselves entertained, and learn new things.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the digital environment. What new tech trends are coming? What are the impacts of being hacked (and do we care?) How is tech interacting with the other letters of STEM?

If we said ‘technology’, what is the first thought bubble that pops into your head?

e.g environmental / gaming / new tech / apps / science

Content Warning

This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

 

Online Algorithms and Digital Advertisements

It seems like every time we go online, either on social media looking for products or simply browsing online, we are bombarded with so many digital advertisements. We are then attracted to their offerings, and we navigate closer to them and become completely distracted by them. And before you know it, time has been wasted. Also, some crazy coincidences happen when I’m simply talking about a product or service by conversation and it shows up on my phone a few moments later going online. These online algorithms are becoming smarter and from my perspective more intrusive on how they obtain information in creating an online persona. While there is no way to get rid of them as it’s how certain websites produce revenue, we should be consciously aware of it. As it tries to model us as a person to predict our habits and decisions, one method to combat this is by going on different websites/platforms outside our routine. In any strategic game, to maintain our unpredictability with our opponents, we need to think many steps ahead. Therefore, as these algorithms become more precise in acquiring our information, we need to be selective and protective of the information given.

Aamir (he/him), 29 NSW 

 

Are you on socials?

Something has to change with the way we do social media now. As someone who works in social media, I’ve seen how the move towards blue tick monetisation system has polluted the way we’re having conversations on platforms. It’s hard to have a healthy discourse when everything becomes about selling stuff, farming engagement or rage baiting.

I’ve read that because of this some people are turning away from big social media platforms and moving towards niche ones, where they can focus more on building communities and exchanging ideas without being bombarded by sponsored posts all the time. I hope more people follow suit – yes, it may pose new challenges to me in my work, but maybe it shouldn’t have been so easy to target such specific audiences in the first place!

Anonymous, 28 NSW

 

Questioning Social Media

It feels strange to think what life was like without social media, and funny that it was only in the late 2000s it started – which wasn’t too long ago. But in the short time it’s been around, it’s made such a big change to how we communicate, how we do business, how we gather information and our entire livelihoods for the majority of people. So I want to postulate the question – ‘Would you go back to life without social media?’

A time that would be much simpler, that has less contact with the digital world. But also reduce how you contact certain people or reduce your capability in the business world based on its dependence on social platforms. It’s a question I’ve thought about for a while and I’ve tried going through a social media detox, but removing it completely, not the easiest thing. I can’t provide a conclusion that the decision to remove it is the best thing as, despite its negatives, it has provided a lot of positive contributions. But as its capabilities continue to expand and dependence may grow as well too, we should always revisit the question in case it becomes overwhelming to control.

Aamir (he/him), 29 NSW 

 

The smartphone is a tool

Every day you will see people going on their phones in every kind of situation or circumstance. Whether it be getting up in the morning, having a meal, watching TV, working, exercising, social gatherings or anytime we are bored.

Smartphones are amazing. They provide versatile functionality and provides an abundance of information and possibilities. But with smartphones there are also other attributes such as social media, instant messaging, streaming videos and other various sources of entertainment & comfort.

It makes us all slowly addicted. Our dopamine threshold becomes higher – to the point that smartphones are the only thing that is satiable to our attentive appetite.

However, we need to remind ourselves that the smartphone is a tool. It has its place in our daily lives and as more technology and functionality gets introduced, it’s up to us to decide where it fits with our actions, decisions, and goals.

One thing if you are mindlessly scrolling through your phone, simply speaking aloud and ask yourself ‘Do I need to use my phone now?’ to disrupt the repetitive rhythm and this helps enforce that my actions have purpose, and my phone is a tool for that purpose.

Aamir (he/him), 29 NSW 

 

Feel the sun 

Detox – a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. In my case, at times, social media platforms can be ‘unhealthy substances’. The continuous loop of the ‘for you’ page and the 24/7 connection with everyone of all different ages can be quite exhausting. It can take it out of you, with the consistent stimulation and an endless need to compare; comparing smarts, humour, bodies, relationships, houses, cars. Everything. It doesn’t end. The term detox is often used very loosely, however I do believe it draws substantive similarities to that of the underlying toxicity of online platforms. Do not get me wrong – social media provides a unique ability to be involved and connected, when not physically possible. However, I also feel that when people (myself included) spend great portions of their day attached to their phones, endlessly scrolling and/or typing, that is where the crux of the issue lies. Disconnect online, and connect in real life. Put the phone down, look out the window and feel the sun. The offline world is a far more beautiful place to spend time than the online world.

Matthew (he/him), 19 QLD 

 

Are the technologies from COVID our future?

Humans are naturally social beings and need regular interactions to maintain happiness. This is similar to all animals that move in groups or herds. That’s why I think it is important to regularly check in with a secure and stable group of friends. We need others love and support to maintain our mental wellbeing. However, the pandemic has made it extremely difficult to physically interact with others and stay connected, due to lockdowns and social distancing. Many have felt lonely or out of touch with their friends and family. But new technology has been invented to adapt to these changing conditions. These include applications such as Zoom, which made it easier for people to talk and interact through the comfort of their own homes. This may seem great at first, but it has caused our society to be over reliant on technology and increased phone addictions. It has also made us more socially awkward in real life and most of all it has made us too comfortable to leave our own homes. This had led to more and more people going to work or school at home rather than leaving. However, this poses the question: would this make our society more isolated? Or is it a convenient and effective way to save transportation and even the environment?

Vivian (she/her), 16 NSW 

 

Make the call

Social media has done wonders for a world of interconnectedness. Displaced family members around the world can be in contact 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. The sensation of being ‘plugged in’ 24/7 boosts energy and can spike serotonin levels. Whilst a white screen with a textbox may emulate that feeling of a conversation, the core principles are actually dehumanising and robotic. It takes the emotion and body language out of the equation and provides a place to hide if people want to comment without confrontation. These shortcomings often lead to issues such as misunderstanding, bullying, and harassment. Even if the offender has no malintent or vicious meaning behind their comments, everything can be taken out of context when there is no emotion. The easiest solution is to pick up the phone and make a call – if you are feeling down, have an issue with somebody, or want to show your affection to friends, and family; just make the call. FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams kept the world as connected as possible during outbreaks and lockdowns. So, we must prioritise our wellbeing and happiness by making calls, checking up on friends and family, and explaining your thoughts with context. Most of all … be happy!

Matthew (he/him), 19 QLD 

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