Monday, July 15, 2019
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Likes, views, followers: networks fuel addiction

The trap closes relentlessly and it is always the same, declined in different ways: to find oneself to consult and constantly reconsult his or her courier, his private spaces open to friends or the public, information sites or networks to know if new information has not been published, while measuring the notoriety acquired on the web of such and such information, yours as a broadcaster like those of others. The counting of the flows (messages, views, comments, likes, followers) of which you are informed in real time builds the addiction, builds the addictions related to your particular practices: participation in the debates on the social networks, diffuser or compulsive receiver of information, subscription to sites, continuous reception of messages in a personal, professional or commercial way, with continuous information …. The counters run constantly so even if you have no messages or comments, even if you have not posted anything yet, you are informed about the flow of visits to your different accounts, sites or open pages. New information arrives that may not be missed or that you are notified directly and automatically.
Thus, all day, you can follow the evolution of information continuously. You can keep an eye on your screens. If you are a broadcaster, you can type your name on the Internet to see if it is associated with more and more results, or if information that you are associated with has not appeared. You can go to your sites and couriers to find out if they are visited. You can rejoice that as a private or public, we do not know very well make the difference, you recorded many views and some comments.
It is as if you have several mailboxes open 24 hours a day, which can be consulted on different digital media on which you can interact by feeding the system yourself. It is as if you are constantly connected to the information tap where the water flows continuously and you can add your own information or messages, according to your habits, according to your particular addictions.
If you receive a lot of messages, it is nice for you even if some end up being intrusive, even disturbing and destabilizing (harassment). But if your own messages or your own pages are watched by an audience more and more provided, it is your notoriety which is established, it is your ego which widens. And the mechanism is always the same. He pushes to have as many friends as possible. He pushes to try to have the most views, likes or followers. It therefore pushes to share the most information by staying connected continuously.
Moreover, you are sometimes relaunched by some automatic messages that offer new connections, new friends, new services, new information. They – who exactly? – end up knowing your little habits. The flow generates the flow so that you catch yourself seeing one last time your sites before the end of work to continue on the street with the mobile phone to grab the tablet and the personal computer once arrived home . And once at home, immersed in a reading, in conversation or in front of the television screen, there are sometimes these little beep so characteristic that remind you to order by informing you that you have certainly received a new message that it may be useful to consult. It is therefore a continuous jet, a permanent bombardment in which you participate in your own way.
It is understandable that with such a system, anyone can become addicted and gradually slip into the addiction that takes us away from reality and truth. In terms of publication, awareness is measured by the number of views. So why not boost his views by publishing more and more? Why not put the information you share in order to make it more attractive? Why not be the messenger of the most improbable information that catches the attention for lack of any authenticity? Why not post some infox, or relay them? Why not buy some likes, views or followers? Why not denigrate those who do not share your convictions and aggregate by clicks interposed to circumstantial majorities able to influence the debate? What is interesting about the system, the big platforms, is that flows are always increasing and increasing. This is the basis of their business model based on advertising and data sales. It does not matter whether the information is true or false. It matters little that the false information drives out the good if the false one, which is often the case, generates more flow than the real one and gradually worsens what could be called the collective consciousness. The notoriety of flow ends up submerging the notoriety of the true: the quantity more than the quality. Serious media that verify the facts they publish become a minority. But they no longer escape the flow logic for their digital editions. They try to make the flow with their own content, with those of others by taking them back or decoding them. They inform their users by highlighting the most downloaded information or articles. They become so if, in spite of themselves, part of the economy of the system.
The goal of the platforms is to push the total connection. The "real life" is no longer in the real. It happens in the virtual, in permanent interaction, in front of the screens. Likes, views, followers are there to prove it. We can regret it.

St├ęphane Madaule



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