Complicit in the Chaos Machine

I’ve been an advocate of technology, the internet and social media throughout my career. I’ve been a tech optimist my whole life and I’ve spent pretty much the entirety of my career helping organizations do more with digital tech to invent or grow their businesses. I’ve seen it as creative work, a mostly positive project. It’s been fascinating, grueling, thrilling and rewarding on a number of levels.

But what if the work I’ve been doing has, in a teeny tiny way, been part of the rewiring of America’s brain? What has been my little role in driving America nuts?

I’ve listened to this episode of the Rich Roll podcast, twice now. There’s a lot of conjecture going on, some smart, but hipshot analyzing. At the core, though, the Max Fischer argument resonates with my own experience.

Fisher argues social media is at the core of the divide in the US. It’s eroding our brains and attention, creating (indirectly and directly) polarization and undermines the sense of community (in the IRL sense) we need to keep functioning. I don’t really want to read this book, but I think I have to. And, I have to take it seriously enough that it might force a rethink of the work I do for the rest of my career.

I can’t help but think about how I’ve been a small part of this. In my role as an agency leader, on the client side, as an investor. More importantly, now that I’ve got a deeper understanding, what can I do? And, can I keep doing my current work?

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