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If I Click On That... I Will Be Punished

What preference saves have done to me

By Stephanie Van OrmanPublished 9 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - August 2023
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If I Click On That... I Will Be Punished
Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash

The other day, I saw a story pop up on my newsfeed about a controversial film that was recently released. I will not tell you the name of the film, as that might color the way you read this article. Besides, it is not important. The important thing is that I wanted to learn more about it, but I hesitated to press the link. If I pressed that link, my preferences would be changed and I would get hordes of stories of a similar nature.

Yes, I can edit my settings.

Yes, I can click on what I don't like and say I'm not interested.

Yes, I can satiate my curiosity with the click of a button... Maybe. A lot of articles don't answer my questions anyway.

One time, I clicked on an article about Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston. Within a week, I was getting so many articles in my newsfeed I scarcely had anything else to choose from. Just Taylor and Tom and Tom and Taylor over and over again. One particular article caught my eye as I swiped past the others. It was a picture of them walking down the beach. I was staring at my screen, looking at the poor quality of the photo, wondering if I had become part of the problem. Am I an accomplice to stalking because I clicked on an article about their budding romance? Yet, I clicked on an article, so surely I must want to know every last detail of their relationship down to the minute. That's what my newsfeed thinks. Except no... I just wanted Taylor to find love after all the breakup songs.

Another time, I clicked on an article about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman because I am the correct age to be sad about the collapse of their marriage. I didn't want fan theories. I just wondered if Nicole had said something in an interview over the last twenty years. I was punished. For months now I have been getting air raided with info about Top Gun II. I haven't seen it and now I don't need to because the newsfeed has told me every last detail about the film including everything the cast members said to each other behind the scenes. I feel like I've already watched the film and the extras. BTW: No reason has ever been given as to why Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke up. At least, not that I can find.

Also, for many years, I bought my bras online. This means that I can never look at anything online without seeing a thousand ads of headless women showing their bras. It has led to me having MANY more opinions about bras than is probably healthy for the average person. I chuckle at the screen. "Yeah, what are you going to hold up with that? A jello cup that's still in the plastic? Whatever! You don't know me, BRAS!"

If I press on a link, I'm going to get it. I'm going to get everything associated with that thing like I want to breathe it, drink it, inhale it, eat it, swallow it, and smother myself with it.

Now when I look at something on my newsfeed that I am only mildly interested in... my finger hovers over the link... and I scroll on. I just don't think I'm ready to make that commitment.

Yes, I can edit my settings.

Yes, I can update my preferences.

Yes, I can click on what I don't like and say I'm not interested.

Or I can scroll past and forget that bit of news was even a thing.

Now, if you're curious about what I did click on, I'm happy to share. I saw an article about a strawberry feather star. Now if you're curious about what a strawberry feather star is, you should be. It is an animal that was found in the water near Antarctica. If you do an image search for it, you might scream, "Kill it with FIRE!" But the bright side is that there are not many articles written about strawberry feather stars, so you're safe to do a little search for it. It won't come back to haunt you... probably.

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About the Creator

Stephanie Van Orman

I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.

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