I’m teetering, grabbing my elbows, wandering around aimlessly these days trying to navigate the barrage of misinformation, the overload of information, the causes, the hate, the opinions – all the good and bad of social media – that I don’t know if I can avoid this deadly virus of thoughtless post sharing. I’m not sure I can hold back anymore.
I’m about to throw myself off the cliff into that deep dark hole, let myself be bitten by the screen-addicted zombies, and stop resisting the urge. I’m talking about the urge to stop thinking critically. It’d be so much easier to give in. Stop resisting. Stop making sure the things I post are from accredited sources. Let the journalist in me sit in the backseat and watch the suppressed nonsensical side of me drive that fatuous-car into a very unclear future. Why should I research every single post I come across just so some keyboard warrior can throw up an even more inane one that will use cleverly crafted data to debunk mine?
How does one avoid these screen-addicted zombies and the things they “share” on social media? How can I run from these time-suckers – the mis-informed souls who woke up this morning and decided today they would fight by using that dang “share” button so liberally and thoughtlessly? They’re everywhere. They leave their breadcrumbs on the astroturf, drop their cookies, spew their wildfire, poke the beasts. Who can resist such illogical ideology – such commitment to blind heartfelt causes? If they are blind. If they are causes. If there is no agenda. I’d like to change the world, too, only I didn’t realise I could do it by taking a stand on social media, by sitting at my keyboard.
I’m sure someone will say it. I’m jaded. I’m old. I need to stop taking social media so seriously. No, really – everyone say it with me. I remember when we thought it was arrogant to have strong opinions on subjects when we knew we didn’t have a leg to stand on. Wasn’t that just 10 years ago? Remember, the art snob? The wine snob? The person with the political science degree? The person with the Masters in philosophy, or something or other? The PhD? They put us in our place and told us, by using actual facts, why we were wrong, (or sometimes, why we were right.) I’m not saying that these “experts” all spewed untainted truths. But at least they had a leg to stand on.
Oh, the former years. We were all pretty decent at spotting bias, weren’t we? After all, there was an agenda for everything, wasn’t there? That was common knowledge. We didn’t have the access to information we have today, so we had to weave our way through the layers of bullshit and figure out who we could take seriously, and who or what we shouldn’t. But even then we knew there were master liars. Master manipulators. People with agendas. Somewhere in there, though, were a few voices of reason. Not everyone had a dubious agenda. Some people were standing on both legs.
Somehow within social media, it seems, opinion has replaced critical thinking. It’s not about what is truthful, it’s about what people feel. People are triggered by misleading headlines, duped by fake photos, manipulated into believing data that itself has been manipulated. And then they share it because it “hit” them somewhere that gave them the feels. And it spreads like a virus, covering the Interweb with more (I hate to say it) fake news. There’s now so much bullshit out there that who can really say what agenda anyone has anymore, and who is controlling it all. It’s a chaotic web where everyone has lost their marbles.
So here I am, sharing a post, wondering if I’m just spreading the virus, or if I have a leg to stand on. But I’m also wondering why that stream on social media is called a newsfeed.