Did you know that the internet plays games with you too? Here are 6 tips to beat it on your own.

The information super highway is here. It is alive and ever expanding.

So there are our super cars- 4G & Wi-Fi, loaded with unlimited gasoline aka data plans.
Cruising on this knowledge expressway, you might just run into a ghetto if you ignore these street signs.

So here’s a road safety manual.

1. Search Engine Manipulation.

The search engine now decides what you see based on who you are, your previous searches, locations, keywords, browsing history, and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Pun intended .How else do you think Google knows what’s on your mind?

Due to personalization an iPhone fan would only get, “why the iPhone is the best”, and an android fan , just the vice versa. That’s creepy when you’re looking for an impartial view.

Think of the bigger picture. Would love ever click for someone, whose been searching for darkness and hatred?

Solution: Make a manual attempt to search the opposite views. Use private windows.

2. Re-targeting

You drooled over some prom dress on Amazon app. #windowShopping.
But hey, the ghost of that same product would appear everywhere you go.  Passively popping more offers as you browse other sites.

You’d finally get lured, and make a purchase.

This ghost isn’t Macbeth’s apparitions; it’s re-targeting. By far it’s one of the most effective ways of online persuasion. Based on your purchase the AI now knows you’d need matching shoes too so the vicious cycle continues.

Solution : Enable ‘do not track’ on your browser. Sign in only if you need to. Delete cookies. Use Disconnect.

3. Seeking Validations

A like or re-post on your social network goes further than you can think of.

No wonder, all the stuffs you’ve liked builds your echo chamber but the quandary is we see fellow youngsters envying each other based on the number of views/likes and shares. A virtual validation ensnares dopamine loop for them.

This habit of instant gratification is more and more pronounced in stories.
Add a 24 hours’ time-bomb to a post, and watch customer engagement soar. As this promotes more frequent user content uploads. Hence boosting customer engagement with narcissistic self-worship.
No wonder your old text status are intentionally buried deep down under in WhatsApp now.

Solution : Awareness, that’s all.

4. Unintentional Endorsements

“Rahul and five more of your friends like ……”. Congratulations to Rahul and those five of your friends on being signed up by that big brand as ambassadors. Ditto to you. Remember you just checked in to ‘Starbucks’.

Unaware, we become an advertising medium for our circles.

Quoting Mark Zuckerberg, “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa”. Enough said.

Solution : Check for endorsement options on your social platform and opt-out.

5. Chauvinism

Pew Research states that 61 percent of the Gen Z use Facebook as their primary source for news about politics and government, but Facebook isn’t a proper news source. Rather, it focuses on engagement rates by showing more agreeable content to the users by personalization . We end up mostly consuming political content that are similar to our views. Opposing views and criticism remain excluded, rendering us victims to our narrowed minds. No doubt we see more and more chauvinism in social media. Be it voicing for/against a ban, or trolling/supporting a leader.

Solution : Burst that filter bubble. Get news and views from different sources.

6. The spectator mode

Though internet has provided artists a flourishing platform, but the ratio of doers to spectators has dropped. This observation is straight from a correlation derived from the viewership stats on YouTube.

After a hard day of work it’s surely easier to Netflix and chill.
The old dusty six string needs a rewire. Easy way out,watch another YouTuber do that.
The little girl lying next to you wants you to tell a story, alright here’s animated Amar Chitra Katha. C’mon the world deserves better.

Solution : Choose active creativity over the passive spectator mode.

So, beware the next time you are online. Follow these 6 tips to stay ahead of the game the internet plays.

Did you find these tips useful? Share your views in the comments below.

(Image Credits- Pixabay)