The Drug of Choice

There have been many wonderful things about electronic social platforms. There are also aspects I find increasingly alarming. One of my less productive activities is browsing one platform’s video feed. I’ve noticed that it tracks my habits like an overindulgent parent … always trying to anticipate what I want and give me more of that. It will feed me more cake … more candy … or more poison if that’s what I have a taste for. Now, I’m not a kid. I’m responsible for monitoring my own media diet, keeping it balanced and healthy. So, I can’t blame the platform if I start seeing a lot of junk in my video feed. Or … can I?

My dad passed on to me his love of military history. I enjoy watching videos and movie clips about WW2 on social media. But the clips gathered for me by that platform trend steadily toward more violent and bloody … and farther off topic. I’ve noticed it happening in other topics I’ve perused. Even watching Christian videos introduced a stream of other “religious” videos. Why am I getting all these Hindu gurus? A live tarot reading … what? So, I’m changing my analogy. This media platform acts more like a drug pusher. If he gets a kid to have a beer … the next time he offers him a little whiskey. If the kid displays a liking for hard liquor … he pushes him toward marijuana. When the kid dies of a crack overdose, the peddler says, “Hey, I was just giving him what he wanted.”  Or … did the peddler purposefully escalate his client’s preferences.

If I want to watch WW2 videos, I must be diligent about not allowing that escalation. When something appears that seems provocative or gratuitously violent, I click on the video preferences and select “hide video.” I don’t allow the platform to choose for me … I tell it “shows me less like that.” My video feed on that platform is now almost entirely political commentary and Christian apologetics. Now … even the political videos seem to be getting more and more hateful. Would a media platform intentionally push each of us toward the most extreme version of our political views? I’m sure they’d say they were only giving us what we wanted.

Be careful brothers and sisters. I’m not telling you what to watch. I’m just saying lead your eyes … don’t be led by them. You ultimately hold the responsibility for your feed … whether that’s on a video platform or in the privacy of your own thought-life. Stop your aimless drifting … take charge!

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23