Netflix and Carrots. Bieber and Smoking.

I need a doctor. Following a hasty web-diagnosis, it would appear i’m suffering from a bad case of “reactance”. It’s the reason i’m becoming “motivationally aroused” when the internet suggests things i might like to do next. Apparently you can’t catch it, but i’ll swear my 2 year old has passed it onto me, like he passes on all other coughs, colds and bugs.

Because my 2 year old is suffering badly from reactance. So much so that he is often in tears and rolls round the floor in dismay. It’s heartbreaking to watch. Vegetables are the trigger. Offer him a carrot and he goes ballistic. But strangely, when i say he can’t have a carrot because he won’t like it, he demands one. Reactance is making him very resistant to persuasion.

My reactance flared up when i was on Netflix. It had been incubating online for a while. I like Netflix a lot, but on this occasion its clever engine told me once too often what i might like to watch next. I know it was only trying to please. It’s not Netflix’s fault: at £5.99 a month it has to be helpful and constructive in the way it surfaces up its library.

It told me, again, that i should watch the feature length, award-winning documentary Food Inc (#humblebrag). With the lurch of a reactance-diseased man, I clicked straight to screwball comedies to find the most mindless thing on offer (Carry on Up The Kyber, in case you were wondering. Yes, i know. A classic).

I’m bored of content search being positively helpful (is that heresy?). I no longer want to be presented with results which are so constructively personalized. Like all good first-world citizens, i get bored of a comfortable, easy, life.

I want my content search to be confrontational. Tell me something i won’t like. That used to be called bad, stupid search. Now i’d call it clever reverse psychology. Start responding to what i won’t do next.

Search needs to deal with my reactance (for which there is no cure). Treat me like a two year old – don’t spoonfeed me; beat me with mind games.

When i search for carrots, tell me i can’t have any carrot search results because based on my online grocery shopping profile and history, it’s unlikely i’ll like carrots. Then, like a two year old i will scream for carrots. I will pay handsomely for carrots.

And it’s not just me who wants more positive displays of negativity. Over in the renegade Southern States they’re rebelling too. Academics in Texas (aren’t they a band? didn’t they once open for Fleet Foxes?), have been messing round with things you won’t like on Facebook. Enemygraph is an app that helps you define things you’ll hate rather than like. I like this. Currently Tobacco seems to be the most hated thing – amazingly beating Justin Bieber into number two spot. Now i know smoking kills, but people, please, keep some perspective.

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