Who chooses what issue you think about today?, by Juan Soto Ivars

7 months ago today I gave my Twitter passwords to a friend to share my articles there in exchange for money. The first thing he did was change my passwords and the phone number associated with the account, thus blowing up the bridges that would have allowed me access in case of desperation. I did not announce to my followers that I was taking this step nor did I make any speeches. No junkie talk of the one who swears he won’t touch drugs again. I just got rid of them. And now that time has passed, I have a few things to say.

It was my closest friends who warned me that I had been infected with that cynical ferocity. I noticed it myself when I got into sterile brawls with people I don’t know at all. The environment of psychopathy of the networks launched me to launch attacks and exposed me to receiving them. For a long time I believed that this was the price for a service that keeps you connected to today. I told myself that it was essential for my work, even more so when I usually write about the controversies that start there with devastating consequences. But I was fooling myself like the hypnotized person who believes he is a duck and to prove it waves his arms and says ‘quack quack’. Vice knows how to justify itself.

The first surprise when leaving was that I didn’t have that withdrawal syndrome that I had experienced when I disconnected “to rest & rdquor; keeping my keys. Knowing I was out had some effect on my brain circuitry, who looked for other pathways for dopamine reward. I used substitutes for a few weeks (more YouTube, more video games, more tobacco) until I began to notice that the need for stimuli was lessening. I also noticed that he had stopped using his cell phone. If I forgot it at home, I no longer felt the urge to run back for it.

But it is not these clinical details that I wanted to share with you, but the effect that the disconnection has had on the core of my freedom of thought. That is where I have noticed a more radical change, and not for the reasons I had anticipated when I took the step. It is not that today I feel freer to write depending on what things, but also. It’s not just that I’m not afraid of the asshole response from tweeters because I have stopped seeing them and they have ceased to exist. It is something of a deeper cut, which has allowed me to discover a greater damage that the networks inflicted on me and of which I was not aware. The networks no longer decide for me what issues I have to think about.

Much has been written about the repression unleashed on the networks, where the same users who enjoy freedom are the ones who most rigorously restrict it with the surveillance and pressure of the horde. In the networks people are afraid to say certain things, what can make us suppose that the greatest threat refers to “what to say & rdquor; and “what to think”. But this, which is true, hides a more systemic and structural pressure: the selection of the topics on which we give our opinion. We have looked a lot at the rod that punishes those who leave a lane, but not so much the layout of those lanes.

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What the hell do I care, excuse me, the lyrics of Rosalía’s last song? What does it matter to me that ‘Sálvame’ has kicked out Paz Padilla? Why the hell am I losing sleep over this show that everyone talks about, and some people think it’s the best thing ever done while others say it’s not worth it? Social networks wake up every day with a battery of urgent matters that rise to the category of topics of interest by the pressure of the mass and the algorithms. It is the same effect of the selection of traditional media agenda, with the difference that the media, badly or well, choose them with certain criteria.

The tyranny of social networks is that they induce you to enter a certain conversation. You know that no one will listen to you if you talk about swallows unless you manage to slip swallows into the day’s debate on nuclear energy. So the dilemma is not what to say or what to think, but what to manifest or what ground to ponder. Disconnecting doesn’t just relieve you of the burden of insults or praise. Free your field of vision, and open it up.

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