Ever just sit there and scroll through social media on your phone? I do. My usual habit is Instagram, although I also dabble in Twitter. I deleted my Facebook account a while back, but that has a distinctly shoveling-shit-against-the-tide feel to it. It’s hard to resist the attention machine. The unlimited brute force of the unregulated free market powers it’s dark engines, and much like the twin inevitabilities of death and taxes, we as mere humans are helpless before it’s always opened maw. It’s a force of nature.

The thing is, when you’re in the jaws of the attention machine, you are a hole in the universe. Your actual contribution life, and to the world you inhabit drops to zero. You become a small version of the great maw, an consumer of image and text. Like a coma-patient, your agency in the universe shrinks to clicks, swipes, and taps. This is not active behavior. It’s passive hypnosis. If the wake of your deeds leaves a mark on the world, then when you are scrolling through feeds you are invisible to everyone but the algorithms that hunt you. Your wake is reduced too a path for advertisers to follow, your status is basically prey.

Accepting that role is a choice. The same devices that give you the feeds can be used to make things. You just have to actively choose to do it. It’s easier to scroll, but scrolling is obliterating you.

We are human. The forces arrayed against our wills in this case are staggeringly large, and formidably well-funded. But despite all of that the ultimate power is in our individual hands. Active participation is a choice. It’s your choice. Do something.