Your Friends Are Not Content

But Tech would like them to be

Paul Greenberg
3 min readJun 29, 2024

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Photo by Josue Michel on Unsplash

You and your friend are chatting. Over text. She is saying this not-so-interesting-thing. You are saying that not-so-interesting-thing. But it’s nice. You’re talking. Sort of. “It’s good to be connected,” you say to yourself, even if your friend’s replies are mostly Apple-manufactured HaHa’s, double exclamation points, hearts and smiley faces.

And then the line goes dead. You’ve asked a question that required more than a weepy face or a bitmoji shrug. Three dots appear as she considers her response. And then nothing. She’s gone. For days.

Could it be that our friends are no longer seeing us primarily as empathizers, shoulders to cry on or supporters in times of trouble but, rather, as just feeds?

What I’m describing here I think is not specific to any one friendship. Rather it is part of the larger disconnect that has appeared as Tech wedges itself deeper and deeper into human relations. You probably didn’t realize that the HaHa and the smiley face were just the algorithm czars’ opening gambit. You thought they were shortcut so that you and your friend could focus on what was really important. But what’s really important between humans is often difficult and…

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org