I’m in the middle of a dilemma.

There’s a good chance you are, too.

Social media has made it incredibly easy to connect with people, but it’s also addictive and persuasive.

We’ve all known this, on some level, for years, but the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma presents the unsavory side of social in a way that has me questioning my online behavior.

It features interviews with former employees of the platforms that we all seem to love/hate. They’re warning us: we’re caught in a dangerous trap.

Did you click through to the website yet?

When you do you’ll notice a notification at the top of the site. I dare you not to click it.

Actually, you should. You’ll learn something about the persuasive power of notifications.

This concept is further explained in the documentary, along with how weak our minds are against software built to keep us logged on for as long as possible. Our attention is being sold while we’re fed an augmented reality that risks destabilizing trust in, well, anything.

While I’m still sorting through my own reliance on—and enjoyment of—social media, I’m increasingly aware that we need to demand better. We need to regulate the platforms that allow fake news to spread at six times the rate of actual truth.

I think this is why I’ve always been more fond of email newsletters. I feel like I have more control over what I’m exposed to in an inbox I curate. I intentionally subscribe to information from a range of sources with differing viewpoints.

If a publication, brand, or individual earns my trust, I open and consume their content.

If they’ve lost it, I unsubscribe.

Also, when I send mine to you, I know you’ll get it and can decide if you want to read it. That feels more comforting than hoping an algorithm shows you what I post.

That doesn’t mean I’m off social. But I’m more acutely aware of the give and take of my attention. I’m determined to teach my daughters to recognize what social addiction is and equip them to battle it before they’re allowed that privilege.

Lately, I’ve enjoyed LinkedIn because there’s less political content and useful professional posts seem to be appropriately rewarded. We’ll see if it can hold out.

For now, let’s focus on how to create emails that build trust in the midst of our dilemma.

Thanks for inviting me into your inbox,

Ashley Guttuso  

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Ashley @