Parents tell their kids: don't talk to strangers.
Penn Jillette's not my dad, but added his twist - talking to strangers is fine, so long as you pick the stranger.
As he said to Tim Ferriss:
'If someone selects you, you have to be a little cautious.
So... if you go to somebody and say, “I want to talk to you about my problems; I want to be friends with you; I want to pour my heart out,” your chances are pretty good of whoever you talk to is going to be okay.
If someone comes to you and says, “I can help you with your problems,” your spidey-sense should tingle.'
I see his point - after all, restaurants with touts outside, beckoning you in, are usually terrible. Restaurants you pick are likely to be at least ok.
It's the same with content.
The Netflix 'For You' algorithm is a shit-show; most things it recommends are trash. You're better off keeping your own list.
Amazon was an innovator in 'Recommended' but its usual move is the product you just viewed, or just bought. Not exactly inspired.
Online news whips us into panic and doubt. If you want to know the truth of something, read a book, or dig for yourself.
If you're shopping, the last thing you want to do is tap that Facebook ad.
If you're bored, Tik-Tok's For Your Page is precision-engineered to fuck with your brain.
Content chooses you for its own ends; whether to keep you hooked or drive your attention off a cliff.
Choice is the only control we have.
It's dangerous to be chosen.
image: Ketut Subiyanto