"learned helplessness" & the tech literacy crisis | Internet Analysis

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- Hello, my dudes. We may be facing  an epidemic of something online. I   don't even know what to call it,  but you know it when you see it. - One thing I've learned since being on social  media that scares me is just how unresourceful   people can be. Hey guys, I love this amazing  lip gloss I got from Fenty Beauty in the shade   Hot Chocolate at Sephora for $21. What  shade is that in? What brand is that? - The answers will be right in the  post in the caption and you will   still have people asking you, what  is this thing you're talking about? - Wait, what are you talking about in this video?  Like you didn't say what you were talking about.

- It takes them more time  to write the comment than   it would have taken them to just read the caption. - It's in the video, it's in the caption. Oh,  I didn't see it. No, no, no, no, no, no, no,   no. It's not that you didn't see it.  It's that you didn't look for it.

- Why are you guys not reading  things before you ask questions?   And if you want to know the answers to  basic things, why can't you Google it? - And yes, this problem has always existed online.  People not reading posts or asking repetitive   questions, but it feels like it's getting worse.  I'm blown away by just how many misunderstandings   I witness or just people entirely missing the  point, seemingly not reading, listening, or   paying attention at all. What's going on? Is this  phenomenon some kind of learned helplessness? Is   it laziness or short attention spans? I think this  is a fascinating issue with dozens of possible   contributing factors, education, attention  spans, comprehension skills, tech and media   literacy. When I first stumbled upon this topic,  some people refer to this as learned helplessness,   which is why I probably put it in the title.  People also wonder whether this is some kind   of weaponized incompetence. Learned helplessness  tends to result from stress or trauma. Over time,  

one may believe they have no control over their  life. So even when they could potentially make   changes, they don't try because they perceive  themselves to be in a powerless state. And right   off the bat, I wanna make a distinction between  that psychological term and the way that it's   being used in the mainstream. As often happens  with language and especially with the internet,  

terms start to get used in different contexts  and sometimes the meaning can evolve. I think   this is how it's being used colloquially.  Let's say a kid learns if they ask for help,   someone will just do the thing for them.  So they realize I don't even have to try,  

I can just give up right away. They develop  this habit or this feeling of helplessness,   even when it comes to relatively simple tasks.  And the habit gets reinforced over and over,   which worsens the helplessness vicious cycle. A  lot of people have been complaining about learned   helplessness on TikTok in the comment sections  and even in education. A lot of teachers have   been complaining that they're experiencing this  with their students. They say they assign a simple   task or assignment and the students give up  completely without even trying. But when it  

comes to this internet context, like in comment  sections, I don't think most people are truly   helpless nor are they trying to be malicious  in asking questions. Please explain, what is   this? Maybe once in a while there are people who  genuinely do feel entitled to whatever information   they're asking for or demanding, but I don't think  that alone explains this cultural trend overall.   But before we continue, this portion of today's  video is sponsored by ThredUP. We're back with  

friend of the channel ThredUP, the world's largest  online thrift and consignment store. As you know,   I love shopping secondhand. There's nothing  better than finding unique pieces at great   prices and cutting down on waste compared to new.  It is super easy for me to find exactly what I'm   looking for on ThredUP, whether I'm on the site  or on the app. I can search for the exact brands,   colors, styles that I want in my sizes. And  every time I look through ThredUP, I favorite  

a ton of items. So I do have my favorites  list that you can check out. You can shop,   see what I've been looking for. So let's get into  it. My first piece is the shirt I've been rocking   through this entire video. This is a Zara little  pullover, a little cropped collared top. I have   it paired with these black Levi's. I believe these  are the rib cage jeans. They've got a button fly,  

which is my favorite. Estimated retail, $64. I got  them for 18.99. Incredible. And I'm wearing shoes   indoors, which is the exception to the rule. Just  so I can show you a whole fit. I've been going   for a lot of black and brown outfit pairings  lately, but wait, there's more. This coat,   the brand is Trina Turk. I have realized over the  years that I am obsessed with this sort of coat. I  

love this length. I love the pattern. It's like,  is it a little business? Is it cas? And again,   it's the color scheme I wanted. And next up, we've  got a little cutie blue outfit. I love this like   powdery blue sweater. It almost looks like a  little purpley. The sweater is from Babaton,   Aritzia. And these jeans are American Eagle.  They're a little boot cut. I love a boot cut.   Not wearing boots with them though. Breaking  the rules. Breaking the law. For the jeans, the   estimated retail is $60. I got them for 29.99. If  there's one thing about me, I'm going to be cozy  

and I'm going to be casual. So next time you have  some shopping to do, shop secondhand first and   check out ThredUp. You can shop my favorites with  my link below and use code Tiffany to get an extra   35% off your first order. Attention, baby. Let's  start with TikTok, of course. It does seem like   many users are barely paying attention as they  scroll. They'll watch something for five seconds  

before commenting. Get to the point. Even at two  times speed, getting through a one minute video   is a drag. It doesn't matter what a creator says  if viewers are only willing to watch 10 seconds of   it. And even then they could be watching but not  absorbing any of that information. Especially if   they're seeing up to a hundred videos an hour.  I know it is classic fear mongering to be like,  

TikTok is killing our attention spans, but it's  probably true. I can attest to that. Honestly,   what else could explain when a clip of a TV show  is posted and the name is in the caption and yet   all the comments are like, what show is this? And  I've seen many people get frustrated by this and   they say things like, can't you read? Use your  brain. But attention is a skill, a tool, a muscle   because of short form content like TikTok and the  general fast paced nature of the internet. Most of  

us don't really work our attention muscles as much  as we should. And it is so easy not to. Algorithms   like the For You page are literally designed  to keep us locked into the app and serve us   an endless supply of things we might like. And if  you don't like something, you can just scroll and   see something else. But anyway, some people think  that not paying attention is a matter of laziness.   It's about effort and discipline. Though, as you  all know, I don't really believe in laziness.   There can be these kinds of habitual learned  behaviors that do affect the way we give our   attention and for how long. And when it comes to  tech with super smooth user experience, we expect   things to be quick and easy. We want instantaneous  results. Though what I find fascinating is despite  

all of this tech around us, we may be entering a  period of tech and media illiteracy. And while I   was writing this with Sheriden, she put it in  a kind of nature versus nurture framing. And   I think that's really helpful. I thought about  it in terms of, are we really tech natives? Is   it innate within us naturally to know how to use  and understand these tools? Or are these skills   that we have to learn, practice and nurture?  Gen Z and Gen Alpha have been referred to as   digital natives. Again, meaning that they've  grown up with technology through their entire   lives. So it must just be within them now.  As opposed to most millennials who more so   experienced an increasing amount of technology  that evolved as they aged. Dial up internet,  

flip phones, iPods and beyond. And I think one  big problem with this is that we like adults,   we've wrongfully assumed that tech literacy  is just innate in young people. And it is not. "I wanna preface this by saying  that this is not a diss against you; I'm 24, I'm not trying to be  like "agh kids these days!" I get it. The system has severely failed you. I'm 100% in a very similar boat. I empathize with y'all, okay? I was reading this post about  a teacher who does a lot of   online tutoring for kids in middle  school, high school, whatever, right? And she was saying that absolutely  all of them are completely computer   illiterate. They only understand  how things work through apps!"

- Yes, I wanted to mention this, and I think  it's a bigger problem the younger you are. It makes sense that kids who are raised on touch   screens and super user-friendly  things like iphones, tablets... they learn how to use apps, but they  don't know how to use a PC or a desktop. A lot of kids have never used a physical mouse  before. They're only familiar with touch pads.

So they can do most of the things they need  to, on their phone or on an ipad. But if they   had to do something that requires an actual  computer, they're going to struggle with that. "and a bunch of teachers were  sounding off, saying that yeah,   a lot of kids don't even  know how to type properly. A lot of them don't know how to  search or use search engines. They don't know how to use the internet.

They only know how to use apps! Which makes so much f*cking sense...  but it is also so god damn depressing." In my experience as a young millennial, I remember  actively learning and practicing new technologies.   We took typing tests in the library. We had like  computer classes to teach us basic skills like   Microsoft Word and Excel. Anyway, most of us ended  up being labeled as good with tech because we just   spent a lot of time figuring it out. Anyway, elder  Gen Z can probably relate because we're pretty  

much the same age group. And I'm sure again, as  every time that I talk about generational things,   a lot of people might be able to relate. It's  not clear cut across generational lines, but   generally these things tend to be true. Also, when  we're talking about this issue of like attention   spans and focus, you have to acknowledge that  growing up with so much tech and being given it,   offered it at all times, we've had constant  stimulation, which we've grown accustomed to.  

And speaking of the king of constant stimulation,  back to TikTok. I think TikTok is having a little   bit of an identity crisis at the moment. The  app was originally Musical.ly, like this little   dancing app, mostly for children. There are  obviously still plenty of kids on TikTok,   but now there are users of all ages. And  recently TikTok has been encouraging longer   form content. So a lot of creators are making  it to keep up with the algorithms wishes,   but it's tough because the overall audience  and especially younger audiences have been   conditioned to crave short form. Even though  I personally prefer long form content. Hello,  

welcome to the commentary video essay sphere.  I prefer longer TikToks, but I still watch   every video at two times speed. I do think I  focus and I comprehend most of what I watch,   but I definitely don't retain all of it because  of sheer information overload. The amount of   stuff I'm consuming, things battling for my  attention. And I think about this and I'm like,  

I'm 28. I have a fully developed brain probably.  If this is so addictive and hard for me to manage,   yeah, of course, how is that gonna affect  someone much younger who is still developing?   As I've seen in comment sections, a lot of  TikTok viewers do not like longer content   and they get frustrated when creators kind of  bury the lead and save their best points to   the end. They'd rather hear the main point right  away. We have been conditioning people to expect   answers immediately. So it's not surprising  to see comments like, just explain, tell me. - Like how crazy is it? We are in an information  surplus. We all have computers, encyclopedias and   search functions at the tip of our fingers, but  y'all refuse to do it. Everybody to do the things  

for you when you can just use your resources. And  my thing is, even if somebody doesn't put it in   the video I will literally look up Fenty Beauty  lip gloss brown and I'm gonna find it on my own.   'Cause one thing about me, if I want an answer,  I'm going to find it, but y'all don't have that. - Now this is really interesting because some  people find just Google it to be condescending   and I'm sure it can be depending on the  context, but I wanna make an important   distinction. There's a difference  between telling someone just Google it,   it'll take you two seconds to figure it out  and people who actually do like to gatekeep   information. Like think about someone in an  industry and they literally wanna gatekeep  

that. They don't want other people to know you  have to work hard, make the same mistakes I did,   experience these hardships in order to earn this  knowledge. And that's annoying to me. There is no   virtue in struggle. Like let's not make things  harder for future generations just because it  

may have been harder for us. But anyway, there's a  lot of discourse around this Google is free idea.   And of course it is great to share information  when we can, when we have the time or energy. - I'm not sure when it became perceived  as condescending or rude to ask someone   to Google something because in my opinion,  it's not wrong to ask someone to do their   own research. Having the option to ask  people questions online is a luxury,   not a right. Use TikTok as a jumping  off point for your own research. Use the  

gift that is the internet. It's amazing.  And please respect people's boundaries. - But I think there is a limit to how much  information you can share and in what ways.   You can make a post, including all of the  relevant information. You highlight some   of it in the caption and then you still get some  questions. So you make a little pinned comment,  

link in bio, you reply to some of the comments,  that should help. No, you still get hundreds of   other people asking that same question. I've  seen a lot of creators be like, you know what?   I'm done saying everything. I'm just gonna leave  stuff out 'cause you're not gonna hear it anyway. - All the time when I'm making a video in  my head, I'm like, oh, gotta make sure I   clarify this or this or that or that. And  you're right. People will just ask anyways,  

even if I clarified it. So I've started  doing this thing where I tell myself,   it'll be good for engagement. People  purposefully omit shit all the time   to get an engagement. And if I accidentally omit  something, it'll be good for engagement and I'll   let it go. And that is the only way I've been  able to have peace when I'm making a video. - At a point, it's like, yeah, I can't help you.  If I am spoon feeding you the information and you  

won't take it, what more do you want? This makes  me wonder, have we lost the ability to Google?   There is absolutely something to be said about  being resourceful. Is your instinct to try to   figure things out and then maybe ask for help if  you really need it or to just immediately give up   if it seems like it's gonna be hard, especially  with something as low stakes as, what is that   lip gloss? Where can I watch this movie? I'm not  trying to stoke any intergenerational warfare.   I'm tired of it. People of all ages can and  can't Google. Okay, we've seen it. I personally   just really like Google. I'm constantly Googling  things. Any question or idea that pops in my head,   I'm looking it up. I wanna see what's there. And  for me, I see Google as the easy solution. It is   instant gratification. What was that movie with  that actor? Boom, found it. Everything is at the  

tip of our fingers. It should undoubtedly be  easier to search for things, but it does take   a little time and effort to do it, especially if  you're not well-versed in searching. The bottom   line is tech literacy is a skill. We have to learn  how to use all of these tools and practice and   troubleshoot when we can't figure something out.  Though I will say, side note, that search engines  

controlling what we see and predicting what we  want is problematic. Search results now can be a   little too catered to us, and that can impact the  integrity of the results. But that's another topic   for another video, I digress. Also, tech literacy  is now inseparable from reading, research,   comprehension, critical thinking, problem-solving.  They're all intertwined. Ironically, as the   internet offers endless information and resources,  many of us find ourselves less knowledgeable and   more confused than ever. I found this article,  "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr.   It's from 2008. Very relevant, and I love that he  uses the term the net. Quote, "And what the net  

seems to be doing "is chipping away my capacity  "for concentration and contemplation. "My mind   now expects to take in information "the way the  net distributes it, "in a swiftly moving stream   of particles. "Once I was a scuba diver in a sea  of words. "Now I zip along the surface like a guy   on a jet ski." I love that, and I can relate.  Like sometimes having Google, having access to   all of this information is intimidating, and  it can actually make it harder for us to get   into some real deep information versus just that  surface level, like headline reading, basically.   Nicholas Carr wrote, quoting Marianne Wolfe,  "We are not only what we read, we are how we   read. "Our ability to interpret text, "to make the  rich mental connections "that form when we read   deeply and without distraction "remains largely  disengaged. "Deep reading is indistinguishable  

from deep thinking." Next, I wanna touch on some  factors that I haven't addressed yet when it comes   to this issue of what's going on with people's  comprehension or reading skills. First of all,   here in the US, we are in an education and  literacy crisis. It is not an individual problem,  

it is systemic. You've probably heard the  discussions on TikTok about kids not being able to   read. Khadijah made a fantastic video about that  recently. Other factors, learning disabilities,   auditory processing disorders, brain fog. There  are so many conditions that can make reading or   listening comprehension more difficult, and I'm  certain these account for some of the questions   or maybe misunderstandings that we see online.  And while communication and comprehension skills  

are crucial for everyone, we do not all process or  absorb information in the same ways. That is why   support and accessibility tools are so necessary.  These factors like neurodivergency or learning   issues often go overlooked, especially online,  especially when disabilities are invisible. If   you're just an anonymous person in a comment  section, people don't have that context of   literally like your brain is processing  this information differently. And lastly,   of course, when we're wondering like why are  people acting up so much these days, we're   living in an extremely stressful world, which is  traumatic; COVID, wars, genocide, economic issues,   all sorts of suffering. Perhaps all of these  stressors affect our brains, our processing power,   and our attention. Continuing on, you've gotta  be resourceful, be a critical thinker. It is  

so crucial not to just listen and instantly  believe whatever you hear or see. I think like   that ability or the urge to Google or otherwise  fact check yourself or other information that   you pass by is really important. And that's one  part of being a more critical thinker. And again,   this is not a question of like your intelligence,  I think it's more a matter of your judgment. Can   you look at a scenario with critical thinking? Can  you use your attention to figure out if this is a   trustworthy source? Is this true? Is this fake?  And you know what that is? It's media literacy,   baby. I have this saga that I think is a kind of  interesting example of practicing media literacy.

- I've decided we're not gonna do every single  wedding tradition at my wedding. Women are not   property anymore, which is why I decided I will be  walking myself down the aisle. Apparently, a first   dance with my father isn't enough. My dad just  decided he's not gonna pay for my wedding anymore. - And all the comments were like, "Team  dad, this is so heartless "that you'd   cut off your parents in this way." And  the caption of that first post said,   "This is a Reddit story." And I was like, nobody  in the comments is getting that. All right,   I go to her profile and I'm like, "What  is the deal with this? "What's going on?"   She had posted a couple follow-ups and  she continued like the story, the saga.

- My dad backed out of paying for my wedding.  You probably saw his viral video or maybe you   saw my viral video where I said I was gonna walk  myself down the aisle. And yeah, I've just been   getting quite a bit of hate. So I just wanna say  thank you to those of you who have reached out. - But she still had in the caption, "This is  a Reddit story. "This is a reenactment." Now,  

first of all, obviously, she's kind  of trolling a little bit. You know,   she's enjoying the engagement boost of getting  all these comments. And it ended up kind of   being an interesting experiment into whether or  not people read captions. And in her experience,   apparently they don't, not at all. You guys did  not react very well to that video. I'm getting   hate comments, hate DMs, hate emails. I'm having  big creators stitch the videos and make fun of me.  

But guys, I hate to burst the bubble. That  was a Reddit story. I'm not mad at anyone,   but this is definitely a lesson learned  that if you put something in the caption,   just know people aren't gonna read it. Also, I  made another Reddit story video where I actually   put in the top right corner that it was a Reddit  story and I put it in the caption and people still   didn't read that. Granted, this got me a lot more  views, but the whole image thing is getting out of   control. So I'm just gonna start saying it in the  videos again. But this sort of scenario happens  

all the time where you watch something and you  should get little alarm bells that go, this seems   off. Is this real? Is it fake? Is this person  trolling? This is a confusing saga, but it's not   impossible to figure out. It literally only takes  a few seconds to read the captions, check out   the profile. But most of those commenters had a  quick knee-jerk reaction, didn't do those things,  

but they were willing to go find her on  other platforms to leave more hate comments. - People are going on my Instagram  and finding a photo of my husband,   child and I and commenting on  it, things like run from her,   like this poor man. And I'm like, guys,  that was a Reddit story. Come on now. - First of all, sending hate comments is  usually not productive. But if you are  

gonna put yourself out there like that, at  least make sure you're right. Now you just   look gullible. Now going into media literacy  more broadly, I got my BA degree in media   studies. So I do love talking about media  literacy. And I found it really interesting,   like the conversations that people have online,  especially on TikTok about media literacy. Lately,   a lot of people have been basically  saying like, if you have the wrong   take about a movie or something, you're media  illiterate. And they use that as an insult.

- The biggest way I see the term  media literacy being misused is   people interpreting it as a matter of  subjective taste. It's not. Media literacy   is also not when a person has a subjective  interpretation of a piece of media that you   happen to disagree with or dislike. You can  certainly argue with them in regards to it,   but that does not mean they have an innately  poor understanding of the media than you do. - Now, media criticism is definitely  a part of this. Media analysis,   but those are nuanced. They're not black and  white. There is no one correct interpretation. - Because media literacy is partially a  matter of being able to analyze different   forms of media through different  lenses and different angles,   none of which are objectively  more correct than the other.

- And also media literacy is so much more broad  than most people think. Our ability to analyze   a piece of media, which could be anything,  social media, photos, videos, movies, music,   advertisements. This can involve, again, analysis,  looking at different components. Who made it? What   was the context it was made in? What is this media  trying to say? Criticizing the media, looking at   it from different lenses. It's so fun. There's too  much to say, actually, especially because tech is   advancing so fast. Like, all of these components  are very crucial to us having a healthy amount   of skepticism as we're consuming information. You  should always watch with a critical eye. And these  

days it's like looking at something and being  like, is this real or is this AI generated? Like,   that's an important skill. It's only going to get  more difficult to recognize 'cause like right now   it's clunky and it's weird. It's uncanny valley.  But as it gets more advanced, it's gonna be smooth   and pretty much undetectable probably in the near  future. And that's a little scary. But anyway,   obviously as a media studies nerd, I strongly  believe that media literacy should be taught   in all schools at all levels. It's just such  a necessary skillset. And it does tie into so  

many other parts of our education and our human  experience. Okay, so final thoughts. I hope you   enjoyed this video because again, I didn't  know how to brand it, what to title it, but   I just wanted to talk about this as I've noticed  these misunderstandings so often. And I'm like,   there's a disconnect here. We are all interpreting  and processing this information differently. I   wanna know more about it. What's going on? And I  can't wait to read the comments here because I'm  

sure many of you will share your experiences  and how you go about navigating the internet,   the World Wide Web, the net. And again, I think  it's so important to just be aware that there   have been these huge changes in how we process  information because of technology. A lot of   people are currently kind of forgetting how to  handwrite, how to spell, because we don't often   practice these skills. We're typing, we have  autocorrect. It's so easy to get used to that  

technology, so much so that we forget how to do  the actual skill ourselves. How we connect with   technology does change how we think, and that's  not necessarily a bad thing all the time. I'm not   trying to be a tech doomer. Tech is indeed a tool,  but if it is diminishing our other skills, like   wearing down our attention, we should be aware of  that. I have one last quote from Nicholas Carr.   "In the world of '2001, A Space Odyssey,' "people  have become so machine-like "that the most human   character turns out to be a machine. "That's the  essence of Kubrick's dark prophecy. "As we come to  

rely on computers "to mediate our understanding  of the world, "it is our own intelligence "that   flattens into artificial intelligence." And  I just thought that was a banger. I was like,   wow, do I actually know anything? Or am I, I  just Google things and it goes in one ear and   out the other. I need to start exercising my  brain. I gotta do more puzzles and read books.   I've been listening to more audio books recently.  That's fun. Anyway, again, I hope you enjoyed this   one and thanks again to ThredUP. Make sure you  check out my favorites, go to my link, use code  

TIFFANY to get an extra 35% off your first ThredUP  order. All right, that is all. Okay, thanks, bye.

2024-02-18 11:45

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