Save Your Digital Soul

Russ Linton
5 min readOct 19, 2020
This image was originally posted to Flickr by Andy Hay at https://www.flickr.com/photos/29172291@N00/6287113670. It was reviewed on 30 December 2011 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

In my last post, I hinted at future hope amid the present chaos. The fires, pandemics, civil unrest, economic inequality, and political strife stem from one common driving force — Humanity teeters on the brink of an unparalleled technological advance. No aspect of life will be spared. Even technologies we’ve grown accustomed to will cause fundamental change.

While the information revolution began years ago, only recently has the full promise been realized. The proliferation of broadband, the ubiquity of smartphones, and major advances in AI all matured at once. As a result, we’re among the first generation to be immersed in the digital realm. Our understanding of this shift needs to catch up before we drown.

Even as an author, I never acclimated to the need for self-promotion. Not to say I didn’t bust my ass to be seen. Paying for ads, running a mailing list, signings at conventions, requesting my books be added to library shelves, distributing to brick and mortar stores — I’ve done the legwork and then some.

With social media, self-promotion becomes more than a full-time job.

But you know exactly what I mean. You’re engaged in full-time self-promotion too. We all are.

Throughout the day we constantly evaluate the worthiness of our actions. Each experience gets weighed and judged before being offered to others for the same treatment. Can we get more likes? Retweets? Perhaps we’ll hit the jackpot and go viral.

There’s that keyword. No, not viral. Jackpot.

By now we’re all aware of the manipulation behind social media. If not, a watch of The Social Dilemma on Netflix will set you straight. A Skinner Box psychology underlies the whole apparatus, much like the reward systems programmed into a slot machine.

You scroll, post, and engage, and are fed positive reinforcement until habits form.

For me the cue came when I picked up my phone one too many times to perform a specific task and found myself scrolling Facebook instead, unsure what I’d originally meant to do.

The app got uninstalled.

If plenty have pointed out the insidious nature about how social media operates, fewer have tackled the Faustian bargain baked into the fine print of…

Russ Linton

Nomad, science fiction author, former cryptocurrency miner, trailblazer. Find out more at https://www.russlinton.com