Bubbles of Hate: How Social Media Keeps Users Addicted, Alone, & Ill-Informed

By Dr. Tim Coles | New Dawn

Internet communication has gone from emails, messaging boards, and chatrooms, to sophisticated, all-pervasive networking. Social media companies build addictiveness into their products. The longer you spend on their sites and apps, the more data they generate. The more data, the more accurately they anticipate what you’ll do next and for how long. The better their predictions, the more money they make by selling your attention to advertisers.

Depressed and insecure about their value as human beings, the younger generations grow up knowing only digital imprisonment. Older users are trapped in polarised bubbles of political hate. As usual, the rich and powerful are the beneficiaries.

Masters of Manipulation

Humans are social animals. But big business wants us isolated, distracted, and susceptible to marketing. Using techniques based on classical conditioning, social media programmers bridge the gap between corporate profits and our need to communicate by keeping us simultaneously isolated and networked.

The Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), pioneered research into conditioned reflexes, arguing that behavior is rooted in the environment. His work was followed by the Americans John B. Watson (1878–1958) and B.F. Skinner (1904–90). Their often cruel conditioning experiments, conducted on animals and infants, laid the basis for gambling and advertising design. As early as the 1900s, slot machines were designed to make noises, like bell sounds, to elicit conditioned responses to keep the gambler fixed on the machine: just as Pavlov used a bell to condition his dogs to salivate. By the 1980s, slot machines had incorporated electronics to advantage particular symbols whilst giving the gambler the impression that they are near victory. “Stop buttons” gave the gambler the illusion of control. Sandy Parakilas, former Platform Operations Manager at Facebook, says: “Social media is very similar to a slot machine.”

Psychologist Watson’s experiments “set into motion industry-wide change” in TV, radio, billboard, and print advertising “that continued to develop until the present,” says historian Abby Bartholomew. Topics included emotional arousal in audiences (e.g., sexy actress → buy the product), brand loyalty (e.g., Disney is your family), and motivational studies (e.g., buy the product → look as good as this guy).

Many of these techniques involve stimulating so-called “feel good” chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin. These are released when eating, exercising, having sex, and engaging in positive social interactions. Software designers learned that their release can be triggered by simple and unexpected things, like getting an email, being “friended,” seeing a retweet, and getting alike. The billionaire co-founder of Facebook and Napster, Sean Parker, said that the aim is to “give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post.” But Parker also said of his company: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook’s former Vice President of User Growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, doesn’t allow his children to use Facebook and says “we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric.” Tim Cook, the CEO of the world’s first trillion-dollar company Apple, on whose iPhones the addictions mainly occur, bluntly said of his young relatives: “I don’t want them on a social network.”

With the understanding that “the biggest companies in Silicon Valley have been in the business of selling their users” (technology investor, Roger McNamee), social media designers built upon the history of behaviorism and game addiction to keep users hooked. For example: In the good ol’ days, sites including the BBC and YouTube had page numbers (“pagination”), which gave users a sense of where they were in their search for an article or video. If the search results were poor, the user knew to skip to the last page and work backward. But pages were phased out and replaced with “infinite scroll,” a feature designed in 2006 by Aza Raskin of Jawbone and Mozilla. Pagination, for instance, gives the user a stopping cue. Designers have systematically removed stopping cues. Likening infinite scroll to “behavioral cocaine,” Raskin said: “If you don’t give your brain time to catch up with your impulses, you just keep scrolling.”

How They Do It & How It Hurts

Users think that they have control over their social media habits and the information being fed to them, including news and suggested webpages, are coming to them organically. But, unbeknownst to them, the framework is calculated. The US Deep State, for instance, helped to develop social networks. Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed their web crawling software, which they later turned into Google, with money from the US Defense Research Projects Agency. Referring to the Massive Digital Data Systems, the CIA-funded Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham confirmed that “[t]he intelligence community’s MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding.”

Consider how the technologies were commercialized. “Growth” means advertising money accrued from sites visited, content browsed, links clicked, pages shared, etc. “Growth hackers” are described by former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris as “engineers whose job is to hack people’s psychology so they can get more growth.” Designers build applications into software that manipulate users’ unconscious behavioral cues to lead them in certain directions.

To give an example: The feel-good chemical oxytocin is released during positive social interactions. It is likely stimulated when social media companies send an email alert that a family has shared a new photo. Other human foibles include novelty-seeking (for potential rewards) and temptation (fear of missing out or FOMO). These are linked to the feel-good chemical dopamine. Rather than including the new family photo in the email, the email is designed with a URL feature to tempt the user to click the link which directs them to the social media site in order to see the new photo. The chemical-reward response chain is as follows: family (oxytocin) → novelty/new photo (dopamine), temptation to click/FOMO → reward from positive social interaction after clicking and seeing the new photo (oxytocin-dopamine stimulation).

This convoluted chain of events is designed to sell the user’s attention to advertisers. The more time spent doing these things, the more adverts can be directed at the user and the more money for the social media company. Harris says “you are being programmed at a deeper level.”

In addition, tailored psychological profiles of users are secretly built, bought from, and sold to data brokers, like Experian. User behavioral patterns feed deep learning programs which aim to predict the user’s next online move according to their personal tastes and previous browsing patterns. The more accurate the prediction, the more likely their attention is drawn to an advert, and the more money social media firms accrue. Says former Mozilla’s Raskin: “They’re competing for your attention.” He asks: “How much of your life can we get you to give to us?”

Instagram was developed in 2010 by Facebook as a photo and video sharing service. It is used by a billion people globally and, unlike the teen-loving Snapchat, is used mainly by 18-44-year-olds. Instagram falls into the so-called “painkiller app” category. One designer explains that such apps “typically generate a stimulus, which usually revolves around negative emotions such as loneliness or boredom.”

Snapchat is a messaging app designed in 2011 that stores pictures (“Snaps”) for a short period of time. The app is used by 240 million people per day. Unlike YouTube, most of whose users are male, the majority of Snapchat users are female. Only 17 percent of users are over 35. Its model is Snapstreak: a tracker that counts the days since the user replied to the Snap. Designers built FOMO (noted above) into Snapchat. The longer the user’s non-reply, the greater their credit score decline. This can lead to addiction because, unlike Facebook, Snapchat tags are “strong ties” (e.g., close friends, family), so the pressure to reply is greater.

In addition to the harmful content of social media – sexualized children, impossible and ever-changing beauty standards, cyberbullying, gaming addiction, loss of sleep, etc. – the very design of social media hurts young users. We all need to love ourselves and to feel loved by a small circle of others: friends, family, and partners. Young people are particularly susceptible to self-loathing and questioning whether someone loves them.

The introduction of social media has been devastating. A third of all teens who spend at least two hours a day on social media, i.e., the majority, have at least one suicide risk factor. The percentage increases to nearly half for those who spend five hours or more. A study of 14-year-olds found that those with fewer social media likes than their peers experienced depressive symptoms. Teens who are already victimized at school or within their peer group were the worst affected.

Divided & Conquered

Another feature built into social media is the polarisation of users along political lines; a phenomenon that mainly concerns people of voting age. One of the many human foibles exploited by social media designers is homophily: our love of things and people similar and familiar to us. Homophily makes us feel safe, understood, validated, and positively reinforced. It stimulates feel-good chemicals and, in social media contexts, is exploited to keep us inside an echo chamber so that our biases are constantly reinforced, and we stay online for longer. But is this healthy?

Referring to Usenet group discussions, the lawyer Mike Godwin formulated the Rule of Hitler Analogies (or Godwin’s Law), which correctly posits that the longer an online discussion, the higher the probability that a user will compare others to Hitler. The formula was a reflection of users’ lack of tolerance toward the views of others.

A projection published in 2008 asked if people will be more tolerant due to the internet. Nearly six in 10 participants disagreed, compared to just three in 10 who agreed. In many ways, the industry specialists were fatalistic. Internet architect, Fred Baker of Cisco Systems, said: “Human nature will not have changed. There will be a wider understanding of viewpoints, but tolerance of fundamental disagreement will not have improved.” Philip Lu of Wells Fargo Bank Internet Services said: “Just as social networking has allowed people to become more interconnected, this will also allow those with extreme views… to connect to their ‘kindred’ spirits.” Dan Larson of the PKD Foundation said: “The more open and free people are to pass on their inner feelings about things/people, especially under the anonymity of the Internet – will only foster more and more vitriol and bigotry.”

Users can artificially inflate their importance and the strength of their arguments by creating multiple accounts with different names (“sock puppets”). Some websites sell “followers” to boost users’ profiles. It is estimated that half of the Twitter followers of celebrities and politicians are bots. Gibberish-spewing algorithms have been programmed to write fake reviews on Amazon to hurt competitors’ sales. In at least one case, a pro-Israeli troll was unmasked posing as an anti-Semite in order to give the impression that anti-Semitism is rampant online and thus users should have more sympathy with Israel. Content creators increasingly find themselves de-platformed because of their political views while others’ social media accounts are suppressed by design (“shadow-banning”).

In the age of COVID, misinformation on both sides is spread: the severity of the disease, efficacy of vaccines, necessity of lockdowns, etc. As with US politics, Brexit, climate change, etc., neither side wants to talk rationally and open-mindedly with the other. The very designs of social media make this very difficult.

It should be emphasized that some social media are designed to create echo chambers, and others are not. Cinelli et al. studied conversations about emotive subjects – abortion and vaccines – and found that while Facebook and Twitter show clear evidence of the echo-chamber effect, Reddit and Gab do not. Sasahara et al. demonstrate that due to users’ need for validation when likes and friendships are withdrawn the network tends to descend into an echo chamber.

Conclusion: What Can We Do?

Noted above is Google’s seed-funding from the Deep State. More recently, the ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others were passing user data onto his former employer. Government and big tech became “the left hand and the right hand of the same body.” In the UK, the NSA worked with Government Communications Headquarters on the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. Leaks revealed unprecedented, real-time surveillance and disruption operation that included hacking users’ social media accounts, posting content in their name, deleting their accounts, luring them into honey traps, planting incriminating evidence on them, and more.

To beat the antisocial social network, we need to remember who we are and what real communication is. We need to protect the young from the all-pervasive clutches of “social media” and to realize that we are being sold.

Ask yourself: Do you use social media solely to organize protests, alert friends to alternative healing products, and spread anti-war messages? Or do you use it to send irrelevant information about your day-to-day habits in anticipation that an emoji or “like” will appear?

Taking a step back can allow us to see outside and indeed prick the bubble of digital hatred in which the Deep State and corporate sectors have imprisoned us.

About the Author

Dr. Tim Coles’s new book The War on You can be obtained from online booksellers & www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B08HB68N97

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 14 No 6.

It’s Not Just A Social Media Problem – How Search Engines Spread Misinformation

By | The Conversation

Search engines are one of society’s primary gateways to information and people, but they are also conduits for misinformation. Similar to problematic social media algorithms, search engines learn to serve you what you and others have clicked on before. Because people are drawn to the sensational, this dance between algorithms and human nature can foster the spread of misinformation.

Search engine companies, like most online services, make money not only by selling ads but also by tracking users and selling their data through real-time bidding on it. People are often led to misinformation by their desire for sensational and entertaining news as well as information that is either controversial or confirms their views. One study found that more popular YouTube videos about diabetes are less likely to have medically valid information than less popular videos on the subject, for instance.

Ad-driven search engines, like social media platforms, are designed to reward clicking on enticing links because it helps the search companies boost their business metrics. As a researcher who studies the search and recommendation systems, I and my colleagues show that this dangerous combination of the corporate profit motive and individual susceptibility makes the problem difficult to fix.

How search results go wrong

When you click on a search result, the search algorithm learns that the link you clicked is relevant for your search query. This is called relevance feedback. This feedback helps the search engine give higher weight to that link for that query in the future. If enough people click on that link enough times, thus giving strong relevance feedback, that website starts coming up higher in search results for that and related queries.

People are more likely to click on links shown up higher on the search results list. This creates a positive feedback loop – the higher a website shows up, the more the clicks, and that in turn makes that website move higher or keep it higher. Search engine optimization techniques use this knowledge to increase the visibility of websites.

There are two aspects to this misinformation problem: how a search algorithm is evaluated and how humans react to headlines, titles, and snippets. Search engines, like most online services, are judged using an array of metrics, one of which is user engagement. It is in the search engine companies’ best interest to give you things that you want to read, watch or simply click. Therefore, as a search engine or any recommendation system creates a list of items to present, it calculates the likelihood that you’ll click on the items.

Traditionally, this was meant to bring out the information that would be most relevant. However, the notion of relevance has gotten fuzzy because people have been using search to find entertaining search results as well as truly relevant information.

Imagine you are looking for a piano tuner. If someone shows you a video of a cat playing the piano, would you click on it? Many would, even if that has nothing to do with piano tuning. The search service feels validated with positive relevance feedback and learns that it is OK to show a cat playing the piano when people search for piano tuners.

In fact, it is even better than showing the relevant results in many cases. People like watching funny cat videos and the search system gets more clicks and user engagement.

This might seem harmless. So what if people get distracted from time to time and click on results that aren’t relevant to the search query? The problem is that people are drawn to exciting images and sensational headlines. They tend to click on conspiracy theories and sensationalized news, not just cats playing piano, and do so more than clicking on real news or relevant information.

Famous but fake spiders

In 2018, searches for “new deadly spider” spiked on Google following a Facebook post that claimed a new deadly spider killed several people in multiple states. My colleagues and I analyzed the top 100 results from Google search for “new deadly spider” during the first week of this trending query.

Distribution of search results for 'new deadly spider' on Google

The first two pages of Google search results for ‘new deadly spider’ in August 2018 (shaded area) were related to the original fake news post about that subject, not debunking or otherwise factual information. Chirag Shah, CC BY-ND

It turned out this story was fake, but people searching for it were largely exposed to misinformation related to the original fake post. As people continued clicking and sharing that misinformation, Google continued serving those pages at the top of the search results.

This pattern of thrilling and unverified stories emerging and people clicking on them continues, with people apparently either being unconcerned with the truth or believing that if a trusted service such as Google Search is showing these stories to them then the stories must be true. More recently, a disproven report claiming China let the coronavirus leak from a lab gained traction on search engines because of this vicious cycle.

Spot the misinformation

To test how well people discriminate between accurate information and misinformation, we designed a simple game called “Google Or Not.” This online game shows two sets of results for the same query. The objective is simple – pick the set that is reliable, trustworthy, or most relevant.

A screenshot showing two sets of Google search results side-by-side

In tests, about half the time people can’t tell the difference between Google search results containing misinformation and those with only trustworthy results. Chirag Shah, CC BY-ND

One of these two sets has one or two results that are either verified and labeled as misinformation or a debunked story. We made the game available publicly and advertised through various social media channels. Overall, we collected 2,100 responses from over 30 countries.

When we analyzed the results, we found that about half the time people mistakenly picked as trustworthy the set with one or two misinformation results. Our experiments with hundreds of other users over many iterations have resulted in similar findings. In other words, about half the time people are picking results that contain conspiracy theories and fake news. As more people pick these inaccurate and misleading results, the search engines learn that that’s what people want.

Questions of Big Tech regulation and self-regulation aside, it’s important for people to understand how these systems work and how they make money. Otherwise, market economies and people’s natural inclination to be attracted to eye-catching links will keep the vicious cycle going.

About the Author

Associate Professor of Information Science, University of Washington

The Power of Social Media Influencers in 2020

You probably have heard about influencer marketing before. Brands and companies, no matter the size, are choosing this type of advertising to share their products, increase brand awareness, and reach new audiences.

It is estimated that it will become a $9.7 billion business by the end of the year, and since more and more people are spending time following influencers on social media, this could be a good chance to create your first campaign. In this article you will learn 6 facts about why influencer marketing is essential for any business during 2020.

They have a loyal audience

Influencers are usually experts in a field, like Travel, Food, Gaming, Lifestyle, etc. People that follow them try their recommendations and go to the places that they suggest, because they trust them.

As a business you might be struggling to leverage your brand and increase traffic to your online store. If you collaborate with influencers, you might be able to change this. Influencers are going to help you spread your brand’s message, so find influencers with similar audiences. To do this, you can contact influencers to ask for this information but since it takes a while to do manually, you can use an influencer marketing software. There, you can analyze the audience of the influencer to ensure it is aligned with yours.

It is cost effective

Who said that influencer marketing is expensive? That’s a misconception that many people have. Small Businesses usually work with micro influencers and get good deals because their cost per post fees are not as high as those of top influencers. Sometimes, depending on the product or what you are willing to offer them, you might not need to give them monetary compensation.

Micro influencers have great engagement and their audience will give your products a  try if the influencer’s review is good. Micro influencers have between 5K to 50K followers, so as mentioned before, it is important that their audience is similar to your own. According to Mobile Marketer, the Earned Media Value for each dollar spent on influencer marketing is $5.78.

Works for local brand awareness

Influencer marketing doesn’t need to be done for international purposes. As a brand, you can find influencers in your area to promote your business. A local influencer probably has local followers that are going to know where your brand is and they can see and check your products first hand.

Not only this, but influencers that are local might be more accessible to reach out to and might believe more in your product with the awareness of supporting local businesses, especially right now. To find out more about local influencers, you could specifically check on the social media channel or use an influencer marketing platform that has a location filter. The first option is manual and takes more time, while the other one can show you results in a matter of seconds.

Long term advocates of your brand

As much as influencer marketing campaigns are usually one-off, repeating the campaign will bring the brand awareness your business needs at different times of the year.

In order to create long term campaigns, it is important to keep open communication with the influencer. Since the beginning, express what your goals are and what the campaign should look like. Offer the freedom to let the influencers create their own content as they will feel more inspired and creative.

An influencer marketing campaign can be repeated at different times of the year, depending on holidays, sales or product launches. They become “brand ambassadors” and they can help you boost sales and traffic when your business needs it the most.

They can boost your SEO

If you collaborate with an influencer that has a blog, they can create backlinks for your brand or business. As a brand, find out who has a good domain authority blog and share your proposal with the main goal of creating backlinks for your business.

By appearing in their blogs, not only you will get a boost in traffic, but you can have a better search position than that of your competitors. As much as influencers are focusing on Instagram and Youtube, there are many influencers who still blog and have an audience that will like and check your products.

A combined effort of blogging and social media posts might be the best solution to understand if the campaign is worth it.

They create content that can be repurposed

Creating content many times takes time and expertise to be able to attract real leads. Influencer marketing has the opportunity to get content from influencers that can later be repurposed for other strategies. For instance, brands could use this content to reshare it, create ads or use it as content in their platforms.

Due to this, there needs to be a contract that will explain this deal and all the legal aspects to reshare the content. The more followers the influencers have, the more legal requirements exist. This example shows a brand repurposing the content of the influencer. As you can see, the brand doesn’t need to do much. As mentioned, before resharing the content of the influencer, make sure you can do it.


As influencer marketing continues to grow, influencers are gaining power in social media. They are great communicators and publish creative content for brands to be able to reach new audiences and convert loyal customers.

It is essential to create a set of goals for the campaign and find influencers with a similar audience, that way your product is targeted toward the right people. Some people think that influencer marketing is expensive, but this is not necessarily true, because with a low budget you can work with micro influencers where they can leverage your brand awareness.

If you are considering discovering influencers, you can do this manually on each social media network such as Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitter, etc. But if you don’t have that much time, you can use an influencer marketing tool that can increase your chances of finding a more suitable influencer for your business.

This 4 Minute Video Will Really Make You Rethink Your Use of Social Media

Video Source: Max Stossel

“This Panda Is Dancing – Time Well Spent” – A poetic short film by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk:

In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values?www.timewellspent.io

What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks? What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize the time-on-site and “likes”?

What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in # of swipes? As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.

Time Well Spent is a movement to align technology with our humanity: https://www.timewellspent.io/

The Weaponization of Social Media


Video Source: corbettreport

Now openly admitted, governments and militaries around the world employ armies of keyboard warriors to spread propaganda and disrupt their online opposition. Their goal? To shape public discourse around global events in a way favorable to their standing military and geopolitical objectives. Their method? The Weaponization of Social Media.

This is The Corbett Report. Full transcript and MP3:


Social Media Is Programming Us – Says the Creators of Social Media

By Truthstream Media | Activist Post

It’s one thing to think that something subversive is happening with social media, surveillance, and mind control. It’s quite another thing when it’s admitted to by the very people who created it. Melissa Dykes covers the wide range of effects that the pervasive use of social media is already having on society.

Aaron & Melissa Dykes are the founders of TruthstreamMedia.com, Subscribe to them on YouTube, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, support on Patreon.

Watch their mini-documentary Obsolete here.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.

Engage With Your Social Media Audience More To Influence Site Visits

By Karen Anthony

If you do not know your audience and your audience does not know you then even your best social media marketing efforts will prove to be futile. Therefore, getting engaged with your audience is primarily important. This will ensure a lot of things such as:

  • A better marketing result
  • A high volume of traffic to your site
  • A high rate of conversion and 
  • An increased prospect of sales and business revenue.

This is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of social media management and marketers try out all possible ways to ensure that their audiences are highly and continuously engaged. 

According to the data of Sprout Social Index, it is known that brands that send more than 23 messages to only one consumer typically respond. This means the rate of engagement is far too low and there is too much self-promotion. Therefore, you will need to consider a lot of things that various reports suggest before you shrug off chatting to your audience. These things are:

  • When it comes to customer car 34% of people choose social media as their preferred choice
  • If people are ignored on social then 1 in 3 people go to the competitors 
  • When it comes to receiving replies from the brands only 11% of people receive it and 
  • Considering the Q1 2016 report it is seen that on an average 957 messages are required for a response which is 18% higher than Q1 2015.

Well, this does not mean that every day after you wake up and till the time you go off to sleep you will need to spend the entire time talking or answering to your customers. However, it is your duty to provide the most exceptional customer experience. 

One of the best and perhaps the simplest way to ensure exceptional customer service and to establish a connection with your customers is by replying back to your customer when they raise any questions or concerns.

Expert marketing analysts say that this is even more powerful and effective than if you buy real Instagram likes in vain effort to increase the volume of traffic to your site. The experts also say that if you want to increase your social media traffic you should start by managing all your social media channels and accounts more efficiently and effectively whether it if Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This is because social media is just like a two-way street and therefore you will surely hurt your traffic if you make it a one-way strategy.

There are lots of social suites and social media management tools that will help you in more than one ways in this aspect such as:

  • It will provide you with the ability to stay on top of all social events
  • It will help you to know and manage the comments
  • It will help you to determine the best posts and contents to publish in your feeds with the help of a single-stream inbox. 

Since building your social media audience takes the time you will need to follow these steps more strategically and diligently to see a positive effect on your social media traffic.

Easily shareable content

Another significant way to engage with your audience more and in a better way is by making your content easily shareable. In these modern days, it is important for every marketer or business owner to know by now the importance of being mobile-friendly. According to the study report of ComScore, it is revealed that:

  • 65% of time spent on social media is through any type of mobile device and 
  • Almost 40% of all contents published are read on a mobile device as compared to a desktop.

That means this is the mobile age and living in this age means you must make sure that your content is not only easy to read but more importantly it is simple to share. It is the share buttons present on mobile devices that play a critical role in driving more social media traffic. That means if the audience finds that your content is harder for them to share, it is not only less likely that they will but will also leave you never to come back again. 

Social media plugins

Using social media plugins and buttons will also help you to get your readers engaged and help them to share your content. There are many different social media plugins that will come across and use to help you spread your content through social media in a much easier and faster way.

  • One of such avenues is by using click to Tweet. This will allow the readers to highlight the parts of your content that they want to share on social media without having to leave the page.
  • Secondly, you must also make sure that the social media buttons are also included so that your content is mobile friendly and does not distract the readers while they scroll down.

According to Slate and Chartbeat, you should first optimize as to where you want to place the social media buttons given the fact that most readers only make it halfway down the page. You can use useful tools like the free heat map plugins to see the exact place on your blog content where people are clicking the most. Once you have this idea and know the exact area of your blog with a high click volume you can add the social share buttons there. This will increase your site traffic immediately.

Improve SEO

Last but not least, you will need to focus on your search engine optimization, SEO and up the best practices. This will ensure that not only your content is easy for readers to share but it is also done correctly and effectively. 

Since digital marketing is an in-thing now and has grown immensely you have to integrate SEO best practices into your content. It will help you to improve online visibility and increase more social media traffic and eventually generate more sales and leads.

Author bio

Karen is a Business Tech Analyst. She is very responsible for her job. Integrating Instagram and other social channels, she helps marketers to achieve better results.

10 Social Media Networks to Use Instead of Facebook

By Jake Anderson | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) — The salient facts of the new Cambridge Analytica scandal are bad, and the optics are even worse for Facebook, which is already facing multiple battles both in legal courts and the court of public opinion. But this really is just the spilled pot of a long-boiling problem: growing discomfort within our citizen-consumer class over predatory data mining and the unaccountable shadow agencies and corporations being given access to our private lives via social networks. Big Brother has been privatized, and it may turn out to be far more dangerous than anything George Orwell predicted.

Typically, Facebook has been able to duck, dodge, juke, and jive its way out of such entanglements because of the sheer ubiquity of social media in our daily lives, the market value of the company, and its ability to manipulate public opinion. But this time is different. The company hit the politicized buzzsaw of the 2016 election, which is still grinding and sparking from accusations concerning the use of Facebook to spread propaganda (which in reality, of course, is nothing new). In other words, “Facebook’ is appearing in more and more paragraphs containing “Russia,” and in today’s climate, that is worse than a decade of privacy violations.

In Facebook’s meteoric rise, it flew too close to Trump on the wings of pilfered data.

With the #DeleteFacebook hashtag trending on social media and the Big Five — Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook — growing more untrustworthy by the day, we may soon see a sea change in public sentiment toward another relevant trend with incredible momentum: peer-to-peer, blockchain-based tech apps; tools that do not harvest user data and are not part of a monopolistic predator class of Silicon Valley tech elites hobnobbing with Washington policymakers. The masses may finally be ready to adopt the ethos of decentralized social media in their lives.

There are six primary reasons why we need our social media run through the blockchain technology: distributed consensus mechanisms ensure better security and privacy; blockchain eliminates censorship and safeguards freedom of speech by anonymizing user meta-data; in a blockchain, you aren’t the product (your meta-data is not harvested for commercial gain); by eliminating a central server, users have more control over their own content; blockchain’s tokens, coins, and smart contacts make transactions, payments, and peer-to-peer commerce smoother; decentralized networks sans external payment methods mean crowdfunding for startups is much easier.

The uses of blockchain continue to grow exponentially. Current projects are to blockchain’s future potential what steam was to energy production. In other words, this is only the beginning. With that said, here is a list of 10 new blockchain projects that could become the decentralized Davids to Facebook’s Goliath:

Steemit – Steemit is a kind of decentralized Reddit where users can earn the crypto coin Steem by posting and curating content. Steemit is one of the only blockchain-based social media platforms with hundreds of thousands of mainstream users, and it is one of the best examples of blockchain-as-backend and serverless architecture. Steemit is also viewed as a gateway coin that helps people who don’t know much about cryptocurrency get involved in the blockchain ecosystem.

OnG.social – OnG social is a blockchain social media dashboard for influencers and users. It is only the second company in history to run on two blockchains — Ethereum and Wave — which makes its encryption measures more stable and secure. In fact, the infrastructure is so promising that IBM has lent its support. Like others on this list, OnG social is a decentralized network and rewards users who post content with cryptocurrency. OnG social also supports two other important crypto projects: Golem, which aims to decentralize supercomputing power, and Storj, which distributes data storing nodes.

Sola.ai – Another next-gen decentralized social network that lets users monetize their content. Powered by the Sol utility token, Sola uses artificial intelligence algorithms and user reactions to “generate revenue from advertising, user payments, and partnerships.” The Sola ecosystem creates an internal market for its own community-developed apps and then splits the revenue with users. Its decentralized architecture makes it impossible to shut down, and the creators claim it is “immune to blocking and censorship.”

Mewe – Mewe is a “next-gen social network” that hashtags itself #not4sale. It is considered a possible Twitter substitute. Founded by online privacy advocate Mark Weinstein, MeWe has no ads, no censorship, and no tracking.

Obsidian – Obsidian is a possible replacement for Facebook Messenger, a proof-of-stake, Stratis-based blockchain that can bypass “cookie” censors and surveillance. The data is not used for analytics and advertising. Peter McClory, CEO of Obsidian, explains that the decentralized approach scatters the metadata across the globe. “Running a decentralized network doesn’t come for free, somebody has to pay to run the hosts,” McClory adds. “That’s why we needed a cryptocurrency that can pay rewards to node hosts so that they have a financial incentive to run decentralized messaging nodes. Which in turn takes the decentralization a step further, as this removes any financial incentive for the Company to run advertising or sell user data (if they had access to that, which they won’t).

Nexus – Nexus is a blockchain-based social media application where users can “make deals or exchange value through cryptographically-signed and executed contracts.” The decentralized system boasts secure authentication and anonymity for users worried about censorship by a repressive government. Founder Jade Mulholland says the goal is to “eliminate all invasion of privacy that large corporations are currently performing.” Mulholland adds that “Social, our cryptocurrency, can be used to do many things on the social network, such as buying and selling in the marketplace, purchasing ad space, and donating to crowdfunding campaigns.”

Indorse – Indorse is an Ethereum blockchain-based alternative to LinkedIn that promotes a “skills economy” with its own currency. This system is vaguely similar to Steemit’s in that it rewards users with its own tokens in exchange for helping them build the platform. According to Gaurang Torvekar, CTO & co-founder at Indorse, the use of Ethereum to complement other emerging technologies could lead to a social media revolution. “Combining the Ethereum Blockchain with payment channels opens up a gamut of features and autonomous abilities, aligned with financial incentives. Smart contracts paired with payment channels provide the computation and logic layer upon which the core engine of such a platform can be built.”

Synereo – Synereo and its native cryptocurrency, AMP, “offer blockchain-enabled Attention Economy solutions, allowing direct and platform agnostic monetization of original content posted anywhere on the net.” Synereo’s first tool, Wildspark, allows content to be monetized via “a distributed meta-layer on top of existing media hubs and social networks, where users are incentivized to reward both creators and curators directly with AMP, without the media hub, social network – or Synereo – taking a cut.”

Akasha – Akasha aspires to be a truly revolutionary platform where anyone from artists to mathematicians can communicate without fear of censorship. With a Twitter-like interface and its own tokens, Akasha is hard to pin down, but its creator, the founder of Bitcoin Magazine, describes their mission thusly: “By fusing Ethereum with the Inter-Planetary File System, we explore the implications and applications of a permanent Web in the context of freedom of expression, creative perpetuity, and privacy for a better home of Mind.”

Leeroy.io – Leeroy is referred to as a Twitter clone that tips you. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, Leeroy requires a MetaMask install and is expensive and hard to use. However, it “represents the complete disintermediation of Twitter and the death knell of the ad-driven business model…In the future, all social networks will be like Leeroy: a public utility that lives on the Internet, which leaves users in control of their data, fairly compensates content creators for their efforts, is agnostic and unopinionated as to the data that flows on top of it, fully community-owned and governed, and built for users.”

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New Social Network That Pays People to Use It Could Be a Replacement for Facebook

By Carey Wedler | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) — Facebook’s dwindling popularity is no secret, as users and organizations alike have criticized its ever-changing algorithms and lodged claims of censorship. In light of the most recent algorithmic changes, which have prioritized users’ friends’ posts over posts from public pages, even Facebook has acknowledged a decrease in the amount of time people are spending on the site.

Though there is currently no major alternative to Facebook that compares to the way Facebook served as a replacement for Myspace a decade ago, emerging options reflect the new paradigm: decentralized blockchain platforms.

In what is arguably a show of major recognition for these new options, Bloomberg Technology reported Tuesday on Steemit, an increasingly popular blockchain-based social media and blogging platform that allows participants to earn cryptocurrency for posting, commenting, and voting on content.

Steemit is already gaining traction with independent media outlets and journalists who have seen their reach on Facebook and traditional platforms suffocated (journalist Ben Swann recently joined Steemit, as have Anti-Media and many of our reporters, including myself).

Bloomberg’s report on Steemit documented the growth of the “financial internet” in general and its potential to disrupt the established internet order:

The so-called financial internet stands the Facebook business model on its head. With Facebook, users post content on the site and the company collects the money — last year, $41 billion in revenue. On Steemit, the money goes in the other direction. Facebook, with 2.1 billion monthly users, may not even see Steemit, which says 9 million users visit each month, in its rear-view mirror.”

Bloomberg notes there are at least 1,000 projects that “record data onto digital ledgers and are called dApps, for decentralized applications, are live or in testing.”

Kenny Palurintano, who has established himself as a veritable Steemit expert (full disclosure: he operates my account, as well as accounts for Anti-Media journalist Derrick Broze and Anti-Media, among others), has explained how Steemit works, highlighting its foundation rooted in the blockchain, decentralization, and open source technology. He also discusses how content creation factors into that:

Everyone on Steemit is either creating and/or curating content. Even if you’ve never put up a single post, your comments on other peoples’ posts are still content, still adding to all-that-is the Steemit platform. The more value other people see in your content, the more upvotes it gets, and the more you get paid out. Curating is the act of up-voting and flagging content on Steemit. As you can see, it’s possible to create quite an abundance flow, simply by helping abundance flow to great content creators.

Steemit CEO Ned Scott discussed the site’s popularity — there are over 100,000 content creators — attributing this rise, fittingly, to a decentralized, word-of-mouth form of promotion and the potential to earn cryptocurrency, namely, Steem and Steem Dollars. As he told Bloomberg in an interview:

I attribute almost all of Steemit’s growth to the reality it’s distributed money to members of the community. There’s been very little marketing. It’s been all organic conversations that have led to the growth of the platform. A majority of the people who continue to stick around are being compensated for their time.

Steemit, which doesn’t sell ad space like Facebook and other traditional platforms, instead owns a portion of the tokens. Though the financial internet currently only pays users about $3.5 million per year, that figure could grow to $50 million in two years, according to Susan Eustis, CEO of WinterGreen Research. Billionaire investor Tim Draper, who is heavily invested in digital currency, believes that within ten years, tokens and cryptocurrencies will account for 33% of all commerce.

Steemit isn’t the only blockchain-based platform that’s paying users and attracting attention. Projects like StorjGolemMatchpoolAugur, and Cryptokitties are also allowing users to generate income for a variety of services and activities ranging from end-to-end encrypted cloud storage (Storj) and predicting future events (Augur) to collecting, breeding, and selling digital cats (Cryptokitties). In another example, Brave is an open-source, privacy-focused browser that blocks ads and allows users to earn tokens.

Though many of these platforms are not yet prepared for mass membership and use, those in the sphere are confident that over time they will adapt. “These decentralized systems are just not made to grow and scale for the masses yet,” co-founder of Ethereum Anthony Di Iorio said. “There are always problems with early technology. It takes time.

But those in the field predict major gains and applicability. Draper, for example, believes that within five years, cryptocurrencies will be used to purchase everyday items like burgers and coffee.

As Di Oiorio said of these growing decentralized systems,  “This will be more important than the internet. It’s going to be massively disruptive for every sector.

Facebook and Twitter have not yet responded to Bloomberg’s request for comment on these new platforms, which increasingly appear to have the potential to disrupt their monopoly over the internet as we have known it.

Further, as Palurintano told Anti-Media, echoing Draper and Di Oiorio’s concerns but expressing optimism at the new systems gaining traction:

Being covered by such a large, mainstream news source as Bloomberg will provide a huge leap in the reach of the STEEM blockchain. We, as the community creating content and building tools, should take this as a great sign… but also as a challenge to step up our game. There are still many many technical issues, community-splitting conflicts, and a very steep learning curve, all of which create a barrier to entry for the average, non-tech-savvy folks who just read about our wonderful platform. What can each of us do to make STEEM the best it can be?

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include Palurintano’s comment on Bloomberg‘s coverage.

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Your Mind Hijacked: Be Aware Of Your Smartphone Addiction

By Paul Lewis | The Guardian

Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.

A decade after he stayed up all night coding a prototype of what was then called an “awesome” button, Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called “attention economy”: an internet shaped around the demands of an advertising economy.

These refuseniks are rarely founders or chief executives, who have little incentive to deviate from the mantra that their companies are making the world a better place. Instead, they tend to have worked a rung or two down the corporate ladder: designers, engineers and product managers who, like Rosenstein, several years ago put in place the building blocks of a digital world from which they are now trying to disentangle themselves. “It is very common,” Rosenstein says, “for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

Rosenstein, who also helped create Gchat during a stint at Google, and now leads a San Francisco-based company that improves office productivity, appears most concerned about the psychological effects on people who, research shows, touch, swipe or tap their phone 2,617 times a day.

There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein’s peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it.

Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have completely upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.

In 2007, Rosenstein was one of a small group of Facebook employees who decided to create a path of least resistance – a single click – to “send little bits of positivity” across the platform. Facebook’s “like” feature was, Rosenstein says, “wildly” successful: engagement soared as people enjoyed the short-term boost they got from giving or receiving social affirmation, while Facebook harvested valuable data about the preferences of users that could be sold to advertisers. The idea was soon copied by Twitter, with its heart-shaped “likes” (previously star-shaped “favourites”), Instagram, and countless other apps and websites.

It was Rosenstein’s colleague, Leah Pearlman, then a product manager at Facebook and on the team that created the Facebook “like”, who announced the feature in a 2009 blogpost. Now 35 and an illustrator, Pearlman confirmed via email that she, too, has grown disaffected with Facebook “likes” and other addictive feedback loops. She has installed a web browser plug-in to eradicate her Facebook news feed, and hired a social media manager to monitor her Facebook page so that she doesn’t have to.

Justin Rosenstein, the former Google and Facebook engineer who helped build the ‘like’ button: ‘Everyone is distracted. All of the time.’

Justin Rosenstein, the former Google and Facebook engineer who helped build the ‘like’ button: ‘Everyone is distracted. All of the time.’ Photograph: Courtesy of Asana Communications 

“One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before,” Rosenstein says. It may or may not be relevant that Rosenstein, Pearlman and most of the tech insiders questioning today’s attention economy are in their 30s, members of the last generation that can remember a world in which telephones were plugged into walls.

It is revealing that many of these younger technologists are weaning themselves off their own products, sending their children to elite Silicon Valley schools where iPhones, iPads and even laptops are banned. They appear to be abiding by a Biggie Smalls lyric from their own youth about the perils of dealing crack cocaine: never get high on your own supply.

One morning in April this year, designers, programmers and tech entrepreneurs from across the world gathered at a conference centre on the shore of the San Francisco Bay. They had each paid up to $1,700 to learn how to manipulate people into habitual use of their products, on a course curated by conference organiser Nir Eyal.

Eyal, 39, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, has spent several years consulting for the tech industry, teaching techniques he developed by closely studying how the Silicon Valley giants operate.

“The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,” Eyal writes. “It’s the impulse to check a message notification. It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later.” None of this is an accident, he writes. It is all “just as their designers intended”.

He explains the subtle psychological tricks that can be used to make people develop habits, such as varying the rewards people receive to create “a craving”, or exploiting negative emotions that can act as “triggers”. “Feelings of boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion and indecisiveness often instigate a slight pain or irritation and prompt an almost instantaneous and often mindless action to quell the negative sensation,” Eyal writes.

Attendees of the 2017 Habit Summit might have been surprised when Eyal walked on stage to announce that this year’s keynote speech was about “something a little different”. He wanted to address the growing concern that technological manipulation was somehow harmful or immoral. He told his audience that they should be careful not to abuse persuasive design, and wary of crossing a line into coercion.

But he was defensive of the techniques he teaches, and dismissive of those who compare tech addiction to drugs. “We’re not freebasing Facebook and injecting Instagram here,” he said. He flashed up a slide of a shelf filled with sugary baked goods. “Just as we shouldn’t blame the baker for making such delicious treats, we can’t blame tech makers for making their products so good we want to use them,” he said. “Of course that’s what tech companies will do. And frankly: do we want it any other way?”

Without irony, Eyal finished his talk with some personal tips for resisting the lure of technology. He told his audience he uses a Chrome extension, called DF YouTube, “which scrubs out a lot of those external triggers” he writes about in his book, and recommended an app called Pocket Points that “rewards you for staying off your phone when you need to focus”.

Finally, Eyal confided the lengths he goes to protect his own family. He has installed in his house an outlet timer connected to a router that cuts off access to the internet at a set time every day. “The idea is to remember that we are not powerless,” he said. “We are in control.”

But are we? If the people who built these technologies are taking such radical steps to wean themselves free, can the rest of us reasonably be expected to exercise our free will?

Not according to Tristan Harris, a 33-year-old former Google employee turned vocal critic of the tech industry. “All of us are jacked into this system,” he says. “All of our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”

Harris, who has been branded “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience”, insists that billions of people have little choice over whether they use these now ubiquitous technologies, and are largely unaware of the invisible ways in which a small number of people in Silicon Valley are shaping their lives.

A graduate of Stanford University, Harris studied under BJ Fogg, a behavioural psychologist revered in tech circles for mastering the ways technological design can be used to persuade people. Many of his students, including Eyal, have gone on to prosperous careers in Silicon Valley.


How To Avoid The Social Media Energy Vampire Trap

Energy Vampire

You may have been preyed upon by an energy vampire and have not been aware as it was happening as others are feeding off of your energy. This can and does often occur as a direct result from your emotional reactions.

What is really happening when someone gets a positive or negative reaction from you? They very well may be feeding off of your energy as you react to what they say and do. Energy vampires very rarely are aware that they are feeding off another’s energy. This is not to say that you are not allowed to react to the events of other people’s lives. It is important to recognize when there is a repetitive pattern occurring as you observe the need for validation and or approval from others in regards to their life choices and events.

One of the most common places that energy vampires hang out is on social media. Facebook for example, is a place where many post photos, quotes, vent and share the events of their lives. People often post in order to receive a reaction and will often check in to see how many and who liked their post. It is not uncommon for many to use social media in this way. Now some of you may be saying to yourself: “That is me sometimes!” Chances are we have all done this in the past, but now that we have a deeper understanding of an energy vampire, hopefully we will not use social media in this way in the future.

The Signs of An Energy Vampire

  • It is exhausting to be around them
  • There is a crisis only a daily basis
  • They very rarely take the advice they seek
  • They often play the victim and martyr
  • Often say and do things to get a rise out of others

Be Proactive

  • Work on your neutral reactions
  • Avoid interaction with them an or limit your time with them
  • Try not to go into rescue mode
  • Do your best to not be attached to their outcome
  • Send silent prayers to those who are needing extra validation and attention or even see this person happy, smiling and content with their lives

The bottom line is that energy is a commodity and we only have so much for ourselves, let alone freely giving our energy to others. Protect your energy, watch your reactions and maybe even think twice before you post anything on social media.


Blessings and Light,

Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco

Laurie Barraco is a professional intuitive counselor, medium, author, recording artist, teacher and the owner of The Mystical Moon, a healing center in Fort Myers, Florida. Laurie offers readings, courses and healing products through The Mystical Moon Online Store. You can connect with her at The Mystical Moon Facebook Page.

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Dear America: The World’s Not Quite as F*cked as the Mainstream Media Makes it Out to Be

By Carey Wedler | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — No matter what you turn, it seems the world is burning and chaos reigns supreme. War, threats of war, racism, violence, hatred, and division populate the news cycle and leave us few options but to hang our heads in hopelessness, despair, and increasingly, rage.

While there certainly are countless reasons to be concerned about humanity’s trajectory, however, positive things are happening, and it’s important to be aware of them to keep things in perspective — and to keep your sanity. Here are some recent and long-term developments to remind you there is still hope for the human race.

Let’s start with some antidotes to the most depressing news of the past week:

Last week, many Americans worried nuclear war was upon us after Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un exchanged violent threats. Media reports that North Korea possesses dangerous weapons capable of reaching the U.S. persist, but other reports have suggested the threat is not what the hype has led us to believe.

For one, many South Koreans have declined to fall victim to the hysteria and continue to live their lives. Various military-oriented news outlets have also reported that American troops and defense institutions are not moving forward with war operations. South Korea’s president said this week that there will be no war.

Further, respected MIT professor Theodore Postol, along with two other atomic experts, published an article late last week indicating they believe fears of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have been exaggerated by the North Korean government, adding that the West’s fearful reaction is exactly the intention the regime hoped to incite.

After a week of chaos regarding North Korea, the U.S. news cycle upped the ante with the disturbing protests and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Some protesters waved Nazi flags and dressed in KKK regalia, chanting “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” Some counter-protesters showed up ready to fight and waving communist flags. Ultimately, a car driven by a white supremacist smashed into counter-protesters, killing three individuals and injuring many more. While the event certainly displayed the deep divisions currently plaguing American society, they also served to highlight fringe elements. In reality, most Americans are not Nazis or communists and completely reject the behavior on display this weekend, even if they succumb to more mainstream partisan divides.

Further, the market has responded to the displays of hatred in a variety of ways. Nazis are being outed on social media, and the white supremacist website, Daily Stormer, has been shut down not only by their GoDaddy server but also Google, which cited violations of their terms of service. Discord, a chat service for gamers, also terminated the accounts of white supremacists. Intolerance for intolerance is everywhere.

Further, it’s worth noting that at this point in time, the Nazi presence in the United States is not as strong — or accepted — as it was in the 1930s. At that time, American Nazis held a massive event at Madison Square Garden and built a bunker in preparation for after Hitler conquered the world and the United States collapsed.

But focusing solely on these two events, even if the goal is to demonstrate that they haven’t wholly doomed human progress, fails to do justice to the wide variety of other positive developments taking place.

For one, Bitcoin has continued to rise in value, bolstering opposition to the current central banking fiat currency monopoly. It surpassed $4,000 late last week and continues to grow. The FDA, which last year recommended that the DEA keep cannabis a Schedule I drug, is now taking public comments on the potential benefits of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive ingredient cannabinoid showing increasing promise for use as medicine.

They are expected to present these comments, which may also focus on a variety of other drugs, to the World Health Organization (this is far from an indicator they will legalize it, but it’s undeniably a trend in the right direction). A recent survey of beekeepers recently found that the bee population is starting to rebound after years of decline.

Musician Bruno Mars has donated a million dollars to combat Flint’s ongoing water crisis, Chance the Rapper just gave 30,000 backpacks to school children in Chicago, and a new organization in San Diego, called Eat San Diego, launched an effort this year to plant free food gardens around the city.

Long-term developments are also helping humanity, from apps to make it easier to feed the homeless to tiny homes and 3-D printed houses, which can be used to help give them shelter. Emerging 3-D printed meat may eventually reduce dependence on factory farming, and consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner food options.

Despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, Morgan Stanley recently released an analysis contending that the U.S. will meet climate goals, anyway. Alternative forms of energy are becoming more affordable despite the far greater subsidies the fossil fuel industry still receives.  The rise in cannabis use is undermining the pharmaceutical monopoly, alcohol industry, and police and prison guard unions.

Despite its shortcomings, the independent media is thriving and challenging official narratives, and corporate news sources are increasingly exposed for their biases and political loyalties.

People are ever more interested in expanding their own consciousness, and some are starting young — in Baltimore, for example, the Holistic Life Foundation teaches students the power of meditation and yoga while encouraging them to take part in their communities, maintaining gardens and cleaning up trash.

Though it’s easy to get caught up in the media’s constant barrage of negative news, it helps to remember that that’s what sells — that fear and outrage get more ratings than community and progress. “If it bleeds, it leads,” goes the long-standing newsroom trope.

While we may be a long way off from world peace, saving the planet, and ending the corporate-authoritarian state,  progress is all around, and in times like these, it is vital to pay attention to it.

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The 6 Biggest Social Media Sins You Must Avoid Committing

Like Me-compressed

By Vandita | We Are Anonymous

Social media offers great power to connect with old and new friends and relatives. It is a powerful communication tool to inspire and empower citizens of the world to unite and effect social change. But, with great power comes greater idiocy — accept it.3


Accept it —  you all are stretching the social media boundaries to stand out online and in the process losing sight of your common sense; you all are abusing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine and in the process damaging your reputation and jeopardizing your career opportunities.

While it is perfectly fine to do gossip-mongering on social media, here’re 6 really obnoxious things you need to immediately stop doing on Facebook and Twitter — or any other social media platform — in order to keep your sanity and character intact…

Stalking You Ex

YES, checking up on your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend on social media IS stalking. Resist the urge to look at your ex’s Facebook page after your breakup. Using social media for reassurance — spying on your exes hoping to see them as miserable as you are — can be bad for your health, compound the pain of the breakup, obstruct the process of healing and moving on with life.

A 2012 study conducted at Brunel University confirmed that remaining Facebook friends with a former romantic partner and checking his or her Facebook profile is associated with continuing breakup-related distress, negative feelings, desire for the ex-partner, and inhibited personal growth.


Creating An Ideal Online Persona

What do you present to your online audience: your real self or your ideal self? Social media effect not just creates a false and inflated sense of self and self-esteem, when you deviate from your real self and present your hyper-idealistic version on social media, it leads to psychological problems and even warrants counseling and treatment.

A 2015 study conducted by a team of researchers from Israel, University of Southern California, and California State University concluded that high degrees of falseness can result in precarious functioning and psychological vulnerability which ultimately can lead to psychological pathologies.


Comparing Yourself To Others

The Huffington Post writes:

When you compare yourself to others, you are comparing yourself to the perception of what you think the person is. In reality, many people are presenting only their ideal selves online. Therefore, you are comparing yourself to an ideal figure, not a true representation.

Comparing your lives to a perfectly constructed image of someone else on Facebook can cause emotional distress, even mental problems. In a 2015 study conducted at University of North Carolina, adolescents, who reported engaging in more social comparison and feedback-seeking behavior online, experienced depressive symptoms a year later. A 2014 study conducted at American University found alink between Facebook photo activity and body image disturbance in adolescent girls.


Posting Things To Get Approval

While it feels great to gauge your self-worth by the number of likes, favorites, re-tweets, or comments you get on Facebook & Twitter, the feeling of rejection from not getting them is often greater. A Common Sense survey in 2015 found that children’ consumption of social media puts them at risk ofdeveloping unhealthy approaches to their bodies. 35% teens surveyed were worried about people tagging them in unattractive photos, 27% felt stressed about how they looked in posted photos, and 22% felt bad about themselves if their photos were ignored.

Remember Selfie, ABC’s 2014 comedy series about a self-obsessed woman in her 20s who was more concerned with her followers than her friends on social networking sites, but decided to learn how to live offline when she realized the difference between virtual and real friends?


Poking Fun, Spreading Hatred

There is a difference between having an unpleasant opinion and constructive criticism.  When you spend a lot of time on Facebook & Twitter, you inevitably see users sharing their views on current political situation of your country, religious intolerance, or discussing celebrity comments about a sensitive topic. While it is perfectly fine to disagree with popular belief, when you are unwelcoming to hear divergent voices and opposing opinions, you start to post comments fuelled by spite, anger and hatred.

The Pew Research Internet Project concluded in a 2014 study that people tend keep their opinions to themselves when they believe listeners are likely to disagree with them. If you still want to engage in conversations, stay away from these two extremes or exercise restraint.


Replacing Socialization With Social

Socialization is a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the appropriate norms, values, behavior and social skills. But if over a billion people are attached to social media and heavily influenced by it, how can socialization begin?

Once you start to take part in virtual interactions, your individual behaviors and attitudes being to alter.  From excessive use of social media, you can form anxiety, depression, loneliness, and emit emotions and attitudes you never had before. Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University-Dominguez Hills, conducted a study in 2011 that displayed a higher risk of antisocial behavior and paranoia development among frequent Facebook users, particularly within young adults.

This article (The 6 Biggest Social Media Sins You Must Avoid Committing) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.

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10 Signs Your Social Media Addiction Is Officially Out-of-Control

By Mark Denicola | Collective Evolution

Let’s be honest — the majority of us live in a world governed by social media.

This realisation is certainly nothing new to me, but it was further reinforced this past weekend while I was working as a brand ambassador in the middle of nowhere, Ontario, Canada — in a city where the median age of its residents could not be lower than 55.

As part of my work, I was required to gather leads for the brand I was representing, and while they primarily sought email addresses, they were also happy to garner social media likes and follows.

Despite the majority of those I encountered were well into their years of claiming the senior’s discount at the local Denny’s, I was astonished by how many of them actively engaged with several social media platforms. They not only knew what each of them was, but were able to quickly whip out their phones, open the app, and commit to the ‘follow’ as quickly as I myself could have.

While I admit that I was undoubtedly guilty of stereotyping in my assumption that the older crowd would barely dabble with social media, much less use it regularly, I’m pretty sure most of you would have predicted the same.

The bottom line is, social media’s reign grows stronger every day, and the fact that you are here only confirms that fact.

But how do we know when we’ve taken it too far? Here are 10 clear cut signs that your addiction to social media has evolved into a beast that controls your life:

1. You check your phone before even getting out of bed

Your feet haven’t even touched the ground yet, but your freshly rested mind is already being exposed to news feeds and notifications. Does that sound very healthy to you?

2. You bring your phone with you to the bathroom

I get it: For most of us who work nine-to-five, our bathroom break is one of the few times we can check in on everything we’ve missed. But when you regularly find yourself sitting on the bowl well after you’ve finished doing what you came to do, it’s a pretty clear sign that social media has you on a leash. Bathrooms are great and all, but without your phone, would you ever choose to spend more time than you need to in the room in which everyone else “unloads”?

3. You can’t remember the last time you went anywhere, by choice, without your phone

Try to think of it now. If nothing comes to mind in 10 seconds or less, you have a problem, and your body needs a break from that continued exposure.

4. You regularly lose yourself in feeds, completely forgetting about the message or notification you came on to check

You may have opened Facebook for the fourteenth time today to get the address from your friend Katie for tonight’s party, but you won’t realise that until you close the app 20 minutes and 15 random videos later.

5. You’ve read and watched far too many things you have no interest in and which have no bearing on your life 

It’s great to be informed, but is it really important that you now know how they make Lego?

6. You re-read and double check your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram captions better than you ever did any school essay

I know the word count is substantially shorter but is your 140 character opinion on last night’s episode of The Bachelor really worth so much care and attention? Put that same focus on the things that matter and you’ll likely get to a point where you won’t even want to watch the show anymore.


Seriously: You Can Now Rent “Friends” to Appear in Your Social Media Pics

By James Holbrooks | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) Japan — In a testament to how strange life has truly become in the digital age, the media is now reporting that a company in Japan is offering a new, highly specialized service — renting people out as fake friends for photos to be uploaded on social media with the advertised purpose of making customers look better online.

“Social media can be a lonely and bitter place if you don’t have any friends,” wrote the International Business Times on Tuesday. “Enter Family Romance, a Japan-based company that will send a fake friend to pose with you in your Facebook photos to make your life look more fulfilling than it really is.”

The “Real Appeal” service is priced at $70 a pop, and for that, you get a warm body for your selfies for a whole two hours. Customers are liable for all travel expenses, however, so overseas subscribers will have to cough up the dough for plane tickets.

Customers choosing the Real Appeal service are supplied with a catalog of fake friends to select from and are free to pick based on sex, gender, or, presumably, any other criteria.

International Business Times explains how Family Romance is advertising this particular service:

“Family Romance offers two reasons: social image and vengeance. You may want to be perceived as a social butterfly capable of making friends everywhere you go, when in fact you’d rather sit at home, presumably obsessing over other people’s social media posts.”

Regarding the second reason, IBT writes:

“Alternatively, Real Appeal staff members can be hired to act as your new love interests if you fancy sticking it to an ex-lover and pretending you’ve moved on, when you very clearly haven’t.”

This is the note on which Zoey Chong, writing for CNET, opened her coverage of the story:

“Broke up with an ex and want to show them your life is still great? Japan’s Real Appeal service has got you.”

As social commentary, the news was perhaps best encapsulated in the closing of an article by Cosmopolitan’s Tess Koman, who wrote —quite succinctly — “2017 is grand.” 

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo / Image: Jacek Halicki

Read more great articles at The Anti-Media.