Social media can shape what content we see, who we interact with, and even what we believe. And if it can shape what we believe, then it can shape who we are.
Social media algorithms prioritize popular content — or content that fits the “popularity mold.” This pressures users to discard or bury what makes them unique in favor of more likes, shares, and followers.
On the receiving end, personalization algorithms pander to us and keep us encapsulated in an echo chamber of self-affirming content. But personalization leads to isolation, and isolation leads to polarization.
For all the good they’ve done, social media is also a one-two punch of depersonalization, by telling us who we should be, and over-personalization, by enforcing that self-image through a deluge of curated content.