Hissy Fit - May 2017
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of “news” read online. It is the most user-UNfriendly format out there and the most obnoxious. Frankly, I’d rather listen to stupid car dealer ads, screaming, “Lowest prices ever” than try to read an article online. I have to assume I am not the only one tired of the trickery, bombardment and Big Brother-esque tactics of the Internet. Here’s my beef:
Trickery: An article is never just straightforward on a page. One has to scroll down, trying to guess what button to click next in order to read the rest of the article and, low and behold, usually an ad pops up. Obviously, I’m not against advertisements—they are the sole reason this magazine can be published—I’m against trickery. If I’m not interested in a product, I don’t want to click on the ad. BUT, the way the page is designed—and they all do it—the next button inevitably ends up being so close to an ad, or disguised as an ad, that you end up having a big fat ad over the entire text you’re trying to read. I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
Total Creepers: Have you noticed if you look something up, say a new golf driver, all of a sudden ads for all things golf start popping up on every page you go to? Some may find that convenient; I find it the equivalent of stalking. Basically, they have recorded your Internet search history, turned you into an algorithm, and now insist on tracking you down. I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
Hype Type: It seems like every headline on the Internet is all hype. Words like “jaw-dropping,” or “never seen before” or “This dad picked his child up from school, you won’t believe what he saw when he got there.” It’s like walking by the freak show at the state fair. You want to go in, but you know it’s a total rip off. Exactly! I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
Addiction: I rarely watch television, but I happen to have left my TV on after the final round of The Masters. CBS’ 60 Minutes followed. There was a segment called “Brain Hackers,” which talked about how apps, smart phones, etc. are built to be addictive. A former Google product manager spoke out about how programmers use an entire playbook of techniques to get you hooked to use the product. He stated that technology is not neutral. It is designed to shape thoughts, feelings and actions of users. He said, “The game is about getting attention at all costs. It’s a race to the bottom of the brain stem.” That’s scary stuff, almost beyond Big Brother. You can view the episode on cbs.com. As for me, I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
Credibility: Any one in the world can post something online and say it’s true. The problem is a lot of people believe it whether it’s true or not. In conducting a search, results come up based on key words, not based on credibility. There really are no monitors to let people know if what they’re reading is fact-based or opinion-based. It’s important to know the difference. I think that’s why so many are in an uproar these days—they are experiencing opinion-based “news” overload and fueling it like it’s the gospel. I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
Distractions: I go online to find one thing and before I know it, I’m in the depths of figuring out what Melanie Griffith looks like now, because I read a hyped-up headline that told me my jaw would drop if I saw her now. And there you have it, all wrapped up into one giant manipulative enchilada. I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!
This reminds me of another time big business successfully made its products secretly addictive—Big Tobacco. That didn’t turn out so well, either. Millions suffered lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and other cancers from tobacco addiction, usually resulting in death. I have a feeling this technology addiction isn’t going to be much prettier. I am already experiencing short-term effects: I reach for my phone unconsciously way too many times per day, and I feel my attention span has shortened significantly. Can you imagine what this addictive technology is doing to the brains of our children? Kids are getting smart phones at startling young ages—nearly one out of ten children are getting their first cell phone by age 5. It’s all very, very scary. I hope you take these words to heart. There will be long-term ramifications. I’m sure you know what I have to say: I’ll stick with real magazines and real newspapers, thank you very much!