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Algorithm


How do you feel when you search for a product online from your phone and then suddenly that product is all you see in ads on all your social media platforms? Well social media algorithms are a compilation of rules and data that make decisions about what users want to see. Some find it convenient, but others find it annoying and even an invasion of privacy. However, that is the world of smart phones, and we must accept that what is meant to be a targeted marketing tool, ultimately ends up segregating us into groups and/or belief systems that can be both good and/or toxic.

For the most part, I don’t hang out on social media, nor do I watch the news because it is so depressing, but on August 5th, 2023, I happened to be on Facebook when a friend’s profile was livestreaming what is now known as the Alabama Riverboat Brawl. I was immediately distressed, as I couldn’t look away in fear that I was about to possibly witness another black man get beaten or possibly murdered on video. At the time, I prayed for it to stop, and I turned it off and went on with my day. However, a few days later, on another social media platform, my feed was bombarded with people’s commentary and memes based on how the incident ended.


Again, I found myself unable to look away but not for the same reasons as before. An hour turned to days. I was sucked into the social media black hole, in which I found myself spending most of my idol time scrolling feeds, being educated on the meaning of the term FAFO. If you don’t know the term, you probably can live without knowing it, but let’s just say it triggered a full range of emotions within me. Things that hadn’t been bothering me, suddenly did. I was more focused on the negative than the positive. I started developing and communicating strong opinions on things that I didn’t need to be concerned with. I started watching TV shows that were more volatile in nature. Before I knew it, I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Even my health issues became more of a nuisance.


Then I realized, that was the trick of the enemy. He didn’t have to attack me directly, however through videos, posts, and TV shows which I thought were harmless, I was lured into a spiral of destructive thoughts and feelings. These seemingly normal things gone unchecked, would have easily convinced me that it’s appropriate to say and do things based on my “feelings and/or opinions” over what is kind and helpful. That’s the vicious cycle the world is stuck in, causing so much division, hatred, and fear. It took this momentary relapse to see it for what it was, and it reiterated why the bible says to protect our eye and ear gates.

Now more than ever when people get their news/facts from social media through sound bites, especially during election season, and with national/world conflicts escalating, we need to be that much more aware and careful about what algorithms are subtly feeding our minds and emotions.


It took weeks of concerted effort to redirect my attention to the good that God continues to do in my life, when it only took moments to start spiraling out of control. Every time I started to get anxious, I said to myself, “I am humbly trusting in God’s sovereign care” and it was helping. Then I stumbled across a sermon called, “Just Trust Me” by Pastor Keon Henderson. The whole message was great, but what really hit home was his statement, “Distrustful people become obsessive planners and eventually planners feel the need to become “knowers” who create solutions for things in the future that isn’t even a problem yet.” Ouch!


He shared further that in this culture, we’ve made it a positive trait to be “obsessive planners”, but the need to know EVERYTHING is both overwhelming and exhausting, often leading to self-destruction in many areas of our lives. He referenced the example of how Adam and Eve’s need to KNOW what God was trying to protect them from, brought on the curse that we all are affected by today. We may not fully trust our bosses/colleagues, family members, or friends because people WILL let us down, but we don’t need to trust EVERYONE, we just need to trust God! Then as He changes our hearts and view of the world from His perspective, our internal algorithm will be to share joy, love and peace, rather than discord, hatred and chaos.


Until next time…

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The purpose of this blog is to engage my readers/viewers in thought provoking and action inspiring conversations on various topics that impact our relationships and the world around us. It is not a platform for insults, nor arguments.  Your feedback and questions are always welcome, but unless purposeful to move the conversation along, will not be shared publicly. Thank you in advance for respecting this sacred space.

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