Most of your time is spent on a laptop – when you are on a day job or when you are on leisure time. And the most time-consuming thing is YouTube.
As you start watching YouTube, it keeps on recommending other videos. Maybe you start a video with some educational content, but when you stay for longer times, you end up on some random video and the time has flown by.
You won’t realize how much time has been spent by you and all of that would feel like being entertained, it is just mindless surfing.
Of course, you need down time, but it has to be planned, and it shouldn’t go out of your control. But with YouTube it is difficult, it shows you those click bait titles and the enticing thumbnail, the drama is there, and at the end of it, you invest a lot of your time.
YouTube could provide you things which can improve your life by tenfold, but you can achieve that only when you are aware of the time spent. For example, you could learn to code, become knowledgeable, or get motivated. But all of this will happen only when you are self-aware of your time and the video which you are watching.
Most of the internet revolves around advertising. So it has to entice you to spend more time on the site because that’s how they earn money.
There is no harm as long as you want to spend that time because you find value. But often, it is the game where you are tricked by enticing you with notifications, assumptions of missing out and comparing with your friends. To keep up with this false race, you join in and spend more time so you can compete.
But in the end, neither you nor your friend wins – it is the companies who are playing with you wins.
And they come up with new tricks and things to capture your attention. Thus the cycle keeps on continuing.
Most of the sites on the internet have become like a suction whose main job has become to extract everything out of you. And in return, they give you some candy which is of no use. Unless you are strategic about social media, which most of you aren’t – you won’t gain anything out of it. It might seem that your world will crumble if you don’t check your accounts every day. It turns out, everything remains just fine.
You wake up, do your essential work, and the sun sets too. Nothing goes out of ordinary. On the contrary, your day seems longer because you have all the free time from checking your phone.
In those times, you can read a book, attend an event or connect with loved ones. And those have much benefit than simply scrolling your social media pages.
Again, remember – a controlled, self-aware indulgence in YouTube and similar social media is fun and your best downtime.
But if you aren’t aware, it sucks you and makes you think your world revolves around them in a bid to get profit from you.
In the context of YouTube, you are just a user who spends hours on their site, watches 100’s of ads, and contribute to earning them $100. That’s it – your role isn’t any more significant than that. Since all of these services are free, they have to make money, and for that they have chosen you, your data and attention to earn money from.
A fair exchange because you get to use their sites and get entertained among many other things.
Privacy And Alternatives
Now the times are changing, and you are becoming aware of how your data is being used. If you are using a free site and it doesn’t have a clear picture of how they are making money, then chances are they are selling your data.
Going forward, if you are the product a site is selling, then they will make sure to make you stick for as long as possible.
On the contrary, if for a site, you aren’t the end product and they have precise monetization method, then they can focus on delivering. As such, they won’t be much concerned about your on-site time. Instead they can focus on giving you value so you can move on and lower their load on servers.
For example, if you log in to the banking services, they earn money by lending your money. So they have no incentive for you to make you stick to online services for longer. Hence, they make it easy to do stuff online so you can move on and lower their load on servers.
Another thing which often makes the user stand with no choice is the less number of alternatives. Since YouTube has no alternatives as such, which can match their content library and software, it gives you less power when it comes to choosing a platform to choose for watching videos.
Now that you know all of this – it is evident that YouTube and many social media platforms don’t have any incentive to give what you want and encourage you to leave. Instead, they want you to engage and remain on their site for as long as possible, that’s how they earn money.
So what should you do?
The idea is simple – the first step is being aware of this and then indulging yourself. Keep a timer so that it sends you an alarm and you don’t get lost in the endless feed.
Above all of this, whenever you sit on your laptop, the first thing you should do is get rid of all the critical things you want to do. Get your writing, meetings, creating done. Because once all of it is done, it will matter less if you end up on YouTube for hours. You have taken care of all the important things for you.
Before the internet can suck you in, focus on getting your to-do list done. And then, maybe watch a cat video. At this point, you deserve one.