Last night I was on Instagram, as I am most nights when I’m waiting for my boys to fall asleep. I noticed something very peculiar; in my suggested feed was an account that was created for a child who had cancer. I wondered how and why Instagram was showing this to me. Then it dawned on me that it was because I had been highly engaged with and following the story of an account that was using cancer hashtags in almost every photo.
Instagram naturally thought I wanted to see more cancer.
I actually did click on that account and went down another nightmarish rabbit hole that I couldn’t get off of my mind for days because I was so disturbed. Of course my scrolling and clicking through this account only reaffirmed to Instagram that I am indeed interested in cancer, even though I actually want nothing to do with it.
Later as I was thinking about this, I realized that this is EXACTLY the way the law of attraction (LOA) works. The characteristics that social media algorithms and the LOA have in common is that they bring things to us not based on how we feel about them, but based on how much focus we’re putting on them. They aren’t computing whether we want to experience them or not, they’re simply calculating how much attention we’re putting on a certain subject and assuming we want more of that in our experience.
I’m going to share with you three ways exactly in which the LOA and algorithms function in the same way, and three ways to clean up your “suggested feed” with the LOA.
What is an Algorithm?
But first, for anyone who doesn’t know what an social media algorithm is, I’m going to briefly explain in laymen terms (because I’m not super techy) what they are.
Basically, most sites have an algorithm in place to track what you’re viewing on their sites and other sites. They do this so they can improve viewer readership experience and increase sales.
Instagram for example, follows what you view and what you engage with. Even if you don’t click like or comment, Instagram can see when you view a certain account. If you view it enough times, Instagram will get the assumption that you want to see more related accounts.
Facebook and Pinterest work in similar ways: whatever you click on and engage with, their algorithms will put more of the same in your feed. What you scroll past without giving any attention to will be faded out of your feed.
The algorithms basically do this by tracking cookies on your phone or computer. These cookies don’t tell the algorithms if you actually like something or not, only that you recently put your attention on it so it’s assuming you want to see more of it based on your internet activity.
Here are 3 ways the law of attraction functions just like a social media algorithm:
1. What you put your attention on will start to show up more in your life, whether you like it or not.
LOA and algorithms say yes to everything: even if you don’t like a particular story or subject and it upsets you, if you put your attention on it, LOA and algorithms send more of that your way.
Have you ever clicked on a story on Facebook and read it, or clicked to read the comments, and then found more of the same in your feed? More political articles that piss you off, more sad stories, more people ranting about whatever is the current debate?
Have you ever visited a website and then later when you’re on Facebook, you see an ad for that very same store in your sidebar or in your feed? That’s the algorithm at work. Following what you’re putting your attention on, assuming you want more of that, and presenting it to you subtly in other places.
I was closely following a family dealing with cancer, so Instagram algorithms calculated that cancer is an interest to me and that I would likely further engage with photos hashtagged with cancer. It can’t compute whether I want it for myself or not, it’s only going off of where I’m putting my attention.
The law of attraction has also been picking up on my focus and fears around cancer. I began noticing more mentions of cancer around me from family and tv shows. The LOA is sending me more of what I’ve been focusing on.
The LOA will always send you more of whatever you put your attention on, good or bad. I heard Donald Neale Walsh say in a speech that “This is a yes universe.” He went on to say that whatever we put our attention on, the universe says “yes.”
I don’t have enough money. Yes, you don’t have enough money.
I don’t have a lover. Yes, you don’t have a lover.
Everything sucks for me. Yes, everything does suck for you.
I am abundant. Yes, you are abundant.
I only see the best in people. Yes, you only see the best in people.
Everything goes well for me. Yes, everything does go well for you.
What are you saying yes to? What are you giving your attention to? Do you really want more of this in your “feed”, a.k.a. life?
2. When you explicitly engage with content, it will show up faster in your feed.
When we click “like” or “heart” something in our feeds, the algorithms instantly take note and scan for related content to show up in your feed as you scroll down.
On Instagram, when you double tap to like someone’s photo, that person’s photos will show up again in your feed as you continue scrolling. Instagram wants to give you more of what it thinks you like, and if you engage with a certain account, it will show up in your feed more often, sometimes right away.
Take it a step further and comment; this really gets the algorithm’s attention. Now it knows that you not only find this content of interest, but you took time to leave a comment. You must really love it! Or so thinks the algorithm.
LOA works in the same way. Say you’ve been randomly thinking about Donald Trump and how much he pisses you off, and you’ve noticed here and there more and more about him showing up in your reality. It’s starting to rile you up seeing these articles about him and you’re starting to spend more time reading through the comments section.
One day you see an article about him on Facebook and you click on the “angry” emoji and leave a comment. Both the Facebook algorithm and the LOA say “Wow, she engaged, felt strong emotion, and even left a comment; she must love Donald Trump!” Let’s give her more Donald.
The LOA sees that you’re giving your attention to Donald and you’re feeling strong emotions about him. Since the LOA works by bringing more of what you focus on to you, it can only bring you more Donald and more negative emotions.
3. The hashtags (beliefs) you apply to your content (life) will begin to attract other people and experiences that are related.
When we apply hashtags to our content on social media, we do so with the intent of attracting others who are interested in the same subject. Hashtagging #entrepreneur will attract others to your account who are interested in entrepreneurism.
It will also tell the algorithms that you want to see related accounts who use the same hashtags.
Compared to the LOA, hashtags are similar to our beliefs, attitudes, and emotions. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and believe “this is going to be a shitty day”, you are hashtagging #thisisgoingtobeashittyday and are therefore telling the LOA to bring you people and experiences into your day that will reaffirm that belief.
Yes, this is going to be a shitty day.
And of course the very content you post will attract others who are in alignment with that content. So if you’re in a bad mood, you’ll attract circumstances and experiences with other people that will be in alignment with your bad mood.
How to work the algorithm/LOA
So now that we understand how much social media algorithms and the LOA have in common and how they work, we can gain some valuable insight into how we can clean up our “feeds” a.k.a. our life experience.
1. Scroll past what you don’t want in your vibration
Algorithms don’t care how you feel about a topic, only how much of your attention it garners. If you scroll right past something without stopping to read it, you send a direct signal to the algorithm (LOA) that you have zero interest in that subject.
Just like on Facebook when you see a low-vibe article in your feed, you just need to scroll on past so the algorithm gets the message that you don’t want that in your experience. When you find yourself worrying and obsessing over things, stop and do something that takes your mind off of it. If someone wants to talk to you about a subject that upsets you, change the subject or walk away.
Don’t give any of your precious attention and focus to anything that you don’t want to bring into your own life. Anything that makes you mad, sad, or scared will bring more things into your experience that make you feel that way. So just keep scrolling on past!
2. Engage with high-vibe content
When you follow pages and people who are uplifting and inspiring, click and engage on positive content, you are telling the algorithm that you want to see more of that. The same goes for your life experience: when you start surrounding yourself with people and books and places that are uplifting and inspiring, the LOA will bring more things to you that make you feel good.
Since social media algorithms really pick up on what you engage with, only engage with content that makes you feel good. In LOA terms, only give your attention to conversations and activities that make you feel better.
When I see debate articles on Facebook, sometimes I want to stop and look, but I know that that will just set me up for seeing more sad/annoying/irritating articles in my feed that are of the same nature. Same thing when someone starts off on a rant about how unfair life is or something of that nature; I pull the “grin and nod” move and don’t let my emotions get pulled down into the conversation.
Of course, sometimes I’m the ranty person who is complaining or I’m the one who posts the article that ruffles my own feathers. We’re all guilty of it at times. But it’s always easy to clean up your “feed” by redirecting your focus and attention.
3. Only post content that makes you feel good
And one of the best ways to clean up your social media feeds is to share positive, good-feeling content! Use high-vibe hashtags that will attract others who are in alignment with good feeling vibrations. In LOA terms, start off your days feeling good. Cement positive beliefs and feelings into your vibration so that you’re a match for more good things to come into your experience. Hashtag your life with #thisdayisgoingtobemindblowinglyawesome.
Yes, this day is going to be mind-blowingly awesome.
Jessica Dimas is the author of Anything Can Be: A Reference Guide for Applying the Law of Attraction. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration and updates.