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Why We Should Keep In Check The Content We Consume

by Aisyah Samuin. |

I’m sure that you and I know that in this digital time and age, there is simply so much data and information created on the Internet daily. It’s made available to us so easily that we can get lost in terms of knowing which information is legit or even if it’s worth reading or watching.

We’re not going to preach to you about what you should or should not consume but rather, why we should keep in check the kind of content we consume.

While being able to access a lot of information easily, it also poses a lot of other external factors especially to us, the tech-savvy generation. Based on an article on NST by Adib Povera, Malaysia recorded a whopping 880% more internet users (24.5 million people) in 2017 compared to over 10 years ago. Which is no surprise why advertisers are always seeking ways to take advantage of this.

Content, like many others, are products created to gain a specific audience’s attention and being aware of the information you consume daily is essential. These are 4 reasons why you should monitor and keep in check the content that you consume.

1. You are what you consume

Similar with your food intake, eating healthily will show internally and externally in the form of a healthier and fitter physique and vice versa. Likewise goes to the consumption of content especially online. If you feed yourself good information and knowledge daily, it will help your mind grow and build character. Basically, what you expose yourself to daily becomes a part of you. The values and knowledge that you instil to the type of topics you even discuss with your friends during brunch. Sometimes it could just be all about celebrity gossip – is it actually worth our time?

On the contrary, it’s definitely okay to check out funny cat videos after a long day because everyone needs some time to unwind ;)

2. You might be in a filter bubble

Image: Mimi Thian

A filter bubble is a term coined by Internet activist Eli Pariser, which means a state of personal information isolation or in simple context - a bubble that a person lives in online. The thing is, you could be in a filter bubble yourself and be completely unaware of it.

Most search engines and platforms available to you are powered by data and algorithm which is synced from your search results, cookies etc. and pushes content that would appeal the most to you. Due to this algorithm, each person receives a different set of content in their newsfeed daily. Most of these curated content are already filtered to fit what you are accustomed to searching and will appeal to you.

While algorithm sets out to engage you and guide your attention online, the major flaw to this technology is that it keeps you in a bubble where you will only be fed with contents that you agree with and create informational barriers.

A lot of Internet companies claim that their algorithm is made to diverse the information as much as possible. That being said, you are able to limit the effect of the algorithm by changing your browser settings or turn off customization features and targeted ads on websites.

3. Misinformation

In real life, being one of the first people to know about something is exhilarating. Same goes online. Some people get too engrossed in being the first to spread the news that they do not even bother to verify the information. Due to anonymity, there are usually no repercussions for spreading false information online. To make matters worse, this type of Internet Troll is aplenty on the Internet so try to avoid succumbing to false information and news. Always fact check!

Time is gold so do not waste your valuable resources by spending it on reading and spreading false information.

4. Be an informed consumer

Information on the Internet is free… or is it? Keep in mind that when a service is free, there is probably a hidden charge or agenda behind it. If you are not made to pay for something, most probably you are the product. For example, social media accounts are free but you are, in fact, the pool of consumers ready to be targeted by advertisers.

The algorithm behind Facebook looks into your likes, interests and your engagement behaviour and many more to determine what sort of advertisements and content to display to your newsfeed. Knowing that these content do not come to you coincidentally helps you be more aware of your newsfeed and browse more responsibly.

The Internet is like an ocean, full of treasure troves but it also poses danger to those who venture unarmed with the right information. Know where to seek the knowledge your mind craves and what to avoid so as to not fall prey to online predators. Be informed and stay curious.

You may find out more about Aisyah on her Instagram too!

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