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Old 1st August 2020, 11:55 AM   #1
shemp
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Social Media Is the Problem

No social media, no collapse of American public life.


Quote:
Let’s take a short walk down memory lane.

It’s 1995. A man stands on a busy street corner yelling vaguely incoherent things at the passersby. He’s holding a placard that says “THE END IS NIGH. REPENT.”

You come upon this guy while out getting the paper. How do you feel about him? You might feel some flavor of annoyance. Most people would also feel compassion for him as he is clearly suffering from something.

No reasonable person would think of convincing this man that his point of view is incorrect. This isn’t an opportunity for an engaging debate. This guy doesn’t kill at parties. This guy doesn’t go to parties. He’s only out here because he’s not violent and there’s no room for him at Bellevue.

Now fast forward to 2020.

In terms of who this guy is and who you are absolutely nothing has changed. And yet here you are—arguing with him on Twitter or Facebook. And you, yourself, are being brought to the brink of insanity. But you can’t seem to stop. You have to respond or read the comments of the other people responding and your cortisol and adrenaline levels are spiking and your blood pressure is rising and you’re suddenly at risk of a heart attack.

And the ugly truth is that you’ve become addicted to arguing with the “End Is Nigh” sandwich board guy. The guy you used to quietly skirt, you now seek him out and you bring your friends and for some idiotic reason you think that if you just post a little bit more you’re going to get him to see reason. Or put him in his place.

Or maybe you don’t even know why you’re doing it. But you can’t stop, won’t stop.
Please read the entire article. It only takes a few minutes. He is saying things that I've been saying for years, and more. And I'm convinced he's absolutely right. The way out of this mess is for "normal" people to stop giving Zuckerberg and others the financial incentive to provide the worldwide soapbox for idiots. Abandon social media.
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:03 PM   #2
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Social Media is the best thing to happen to the world.
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
No social media, no collapse of American public life.




Please read the entire article. It only takes a few minutes. He is saying things that I've been saying for years, and more. And I'm convinced he's absolutely right. The way out of this mess is for "normal" people to stop giving Zuckerberg and others the financial incentive to provide the worldwide soapbox for idiots. Abandon social media.
This might be the relevant XKCD

https://xkcd.com/154/

When the "end is nigh" guy is the leader of the free world with the support of the majority of the senate and massive approval from the party that represents half the country, things are a little different.

The things being argued on the internet are mostly not random beliefs of isolated crazy individuals, they're beliefs that are rampant enough to have major followings, political power and policy implications.

It's not an isolated weirdo arguing against the masks that save lives, it's the political party that controls two branches of the US government.

The bit about addiction to adrenaline has a certain point, but there's an underlying assumption that the crazies and their ideas have no power. We are experiencing the effects of their power to the tune of 150K dead Americans. I suppose I might feel better if I ignored the very real and dangerous ideas spread widely in my country and held by those in power. Feeling better as things go to hell is a pretty selfish strategy.
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Social Media is the best thing to happen to the world.
You misspelled "worst", there.
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You misspelled "worst", there.
Yeah, that's what happened.
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
This might be the relevant XKCD

https://xkcd.com/154/

When the "end is nigh" guy is the leader of the free world with the support of the majority of the senate and massive approval from the party that represents half the country, things are a little different.

The things being argued on the internet are mostly not random beliefs of isolated crazy individuals, they're beliefs that are rampant enough to have major followings, political power and policy implications.

It's not an isolated weirdo arguing against the masks that save lives, it's the political party that controls two branches of the US government.

The bit about addiction to adrenaline has a certain point, but there's an underlying assumption that the crazies and their ideas have no power. We are experiencing the effects of their power to the tune of 150K dead Americans.....
Exaggerate much? Did you mean to say that if only we had a Dem president NOT ONE PERSON WOULD HAVE DIED? Anything Trump did would have only varied the peak of the curve, not the area under the curve. But let's leave that for the other Covid threads.

But back OT, what we are experiencing is Direct Democracy, and why the framers did not want it.

And a related thought- Was America the first country ever to actually decide what kind of government to have? All others were slow morphs from kingdoms or empires. So that the populations of most other countries still still have a top-down political model.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:15 PM   #7
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People are the problem.

Social media just exposes them and our ignorance of how pervasive these wacky beliefs are. I think it reveals the need to push skepticism and critical thinking into the mainstream, perhaps in the high schools as a graduation requirement. I think people should have some experience in making thoughtful arguments instead of working from an entrenched opinion all the time. People think they can live as freely ignorant as they want.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Yeah, that's what happened.
Good, I'm glad we're in agreement. Warms my heart, really.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Social Media is the best thing to happen to the world.
rockysmith76 is the best thing to happen to the ISF.

Both of these statements are valid opinions, yet neither contains any truthiness.
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:04 PM   #10
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This is an old idea and was always going to happen.

Social media is only bad for those who actually take it seriously and can't detach their emotions from it.

Laugh everything off.

Admittedly I assume quite a few people probably can't
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Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:04 PM   #11
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[briefbreakfromfor-againsttrumpistancomments]

The article speaks of Twitter and Facebook. They should've put in ISF in that list, the first name in fact. We're very much tinier, but we love our kooks. The kooks are the superstars here!

There are so many of them here, but one, especially, comes to mind. He does crappy things, literally crappy things, but ISF loves him. (Or used to. Hope he's faring well in these virus times. Haven't seen him post in some time.)

Anyway, so are we shutting down ISF?

[/briefbreakfromfor-againsttrumpistancomments]
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
.... Abandon social media.
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post

The article speaks of Twitter and Facebook. They should've put in ISF in that list, the first name in fact.
Anyway, so are we shutting down ISF?
That pretty well sums up my confusion regarding the OP. Aren't ISF and other forums social media as well? Are we using social media to advocate for ending social media???
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
This is an old idea and was always going to happen.

Social media is only bad for those who actually take it seriously and can't detach their emotions from it.

Laugh everything off.

Admittedly I assume quite a few people probably can't
Stop making sense, you'll scare some in here...
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:09 PM   #14
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So you’re saying the end of the world is nigh, it is because of social media...let’s argue about it?
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Old 2nd August 2020, 12:24 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
That pretty well sums up my confusion regarding the OP. Aren't ISF and other forums social media as well? Are we using social media to advocate for ending social media???
But of course you know that they aren't talking about this type of forum that has been around longer than the Internet (or at least the WWW). Even the most toxic Internet fora (like the chans) had limited reach and less influence before Facebook, Twitter, etc. took off.

That said, social media products are only a symptom of people being constantly tethered to the Internet. If users only checked their accounts a couple times a day, they'd likely be a lot more selective about what they read and engage with. They'd also significantly reduce the revenues generated by those platforms.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 12:50 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Exaggerate much? Did you mean to say that if only we had a Dem president NOT ONE PERSON WOULD HAVE DIED? Anything Trump did would have only varied the peak of the curve, not the area under the curve.

It's quite a long way from zero to 150,000. And you know that with a Dem president, Trump would have been busy tweeting,
'4,000 dead Americans! Her incompetence is obvious to everybody. LOCK HER UP!'
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Old 2nd August 2020, 01:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
No social media, no collapse of American public life.


Please read the entire article. It only takes a few minutes. He is saying things that I've been saying for years, and more. And I'm convinced he's absolutely right. The way out of this mess is for "normal" people to stop giving Zuckerberg and others the financial incentive to provide the worldwide soapbox for idiots. Abandon social media.

It's not a bad article, but it makes it obvious that social media only exacerbate a problem that is already there. In my country we never had EIN guys. I only know about them from American movies. We did have a flare up of anti-vaxxerism when some teenage girls on the internet persuaded each other that their symptoms were due to having been vaccinated against HPV. It took an effort from the health authorities to dispel their fears, but it can be done: Danish health literacy campaign restores confidence in HPV vaccination (WHO, Jan. 28, 2019).

However, it's a new thing that the EIN guy is inspired and backed up by Russian and other trolls. (And, fortunately, very few of those speak Danish!) That didn't happen when he was standing on a street corner.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 2nd August 2020, 01:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
No social media, no collapse of American public life.




Please read the entire article. It only takes a few minutes. He is saying things that I've been saying for years, and more. And I'm convinced he's absolutely right. The way out of this mess is for "normal" people to stop giving Zuckerberg and others the financial incentive to provide the worldwide soapbox for idiots. Abandon social media.
Sorry could you condense this to less than 280 characters, i have a short attention span,
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Old 2nd August 2020, 01:16 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Lothian View Post
Sorry could you condense this to less than 280 characters, i have a short attention span,
Lol
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 2nd August 2020, 01:30 AM   #20
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Social media does have the effect cited in the OP. It also allows the quick dissemination of news. It allows the dissemination of news that isn't being covered by the mainstream media, or which is otherwise censored. It allows actual experts to instantly weigh in on relevant topics, and it allows people to correct the record when they have been misquoted or misrepresented. All of these things can be both positive and negative.

It's a terrible, terrible thing. It's also a wonderful, wonderful thing. It's also mostly tonnes of banal crap, selfies, memes, and cat gifs (all of which also have their own up sides and down sides).

It is no one thing, and it's incredibly simplistic and unhelpful to treat it as if it is.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 01:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Social media does have the effect cited in the OP. It also allows the quick dissemination of news. It allows the dissemination of news that isn't being covered by the mainstream media, or which is otherwise censored. It allows actual experts to instantly weigh in on relevant topics, and it allows people to correct the record when they have been misquoted or misrepresented. All of these things can be both positive and negative.

It's a terrible, terrible thing. It's also a wonderful, wonderful thing. It's also mostly tonnes of banal crap, selfies, memes, and cat gifs (all of which also have their own up sides and down sides).

It is no one thing, and it's incredibly simplistic and unhelpful to treat it as if it is.
The only thing I question on this post is what sort of person thinks it is a good idea to intake all their news from social media.

Don't get me wrong. I know a lot of people do now. But it has always seemed a bit stupid to me.
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 2nd August 2020, 02:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
I nearly posted that in this thread today, but figured it had all been said already:

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=331181
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Old 2nd August 2020, 02:48 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
The only thing I question on this post is what sort of person thinks it is a good idea to intake all their news from social media.
Well, a) I question from where you got the idea that the post was advocating for using social media as your only source of news and b) it seems to betray a complete misunderstanding of what social media is - since mainstream news outlets post links to articles and videos of their news on social media.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Well, a) I question from where you got the idea that the post was advocating for using social media as your only source of news and b) it seems to betray a complete misunderstanding of what social media is - since mainstream news outlets post links to articles and videos of their news on social media.
And you chose to click the links
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:46 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
And you chose to click the links
Are you saying that it's bad to read or watch stories in the mainstream media?

If so, then surely the problem is with the mainstream media, rather than with one of the media through which they disseminate links to those stories? And if not, then what does it matter whether people get those links through social media, direct from the news outlets home pages, in an app on their phones, from people telling them about them, or whatever? Why is getting those links from social media worse than any other option?
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
No social media, no collapse of American public life.




Please read the entire article. It only takes a few minutes. He is saying things that I've been saying for years, and more. And I'm convinced he's absolutely right. The way out of this mess is for "normal" people to stop giving Zuckerberg and others the financial incentive to provide the worldwide soapbox for idiots. Abandon social media.
Quite honestly, this reminds me why on some MUDs (old text-mode MMOs, before graphical ones like World Of Warcraft even existed) in the 90's, there was a hard interdiction to ever use the word "you" for their game designer equivalents. "A scary looking dragon enters the room" was ok, but stuff like "you're startled by a dragon entering the room", in some places it was a sackable offence.

Because frankly, don't tell me what _I_ do or what my reactions are.

Like, I'm not even on Twitter at all, except for occasionally landing there searching for some meme, and the article tells me that I can't stop arguing on Twitter. I don't even remember being in any "the end is nigh" thread recently, yet he tells me that I can't stop arguing with those guys. Like, seriously?

Quite frankly, it seems to me like HE's the crazy guy knowing what's in everyone else's head. If we're talking 90's equivalences, in the 90's HE'd be the kind of guy who just knows that the government mind-controls his neighbours into doing whatever he thought his neighbours are secretly doing.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:58 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Are you saying that it's bad to read or watch stories in the mainstream media?

If so, then surely the problem is with the mainstream media, rather than with one of the media through which they disseminate links to those stories? And if not, then what does it matter whether people get those links through social media, direct from the news outlets home pages, in an app on their phones, from people telling them about them, or whatever? Why is getting those links from social media worse than any other option?
Probably me just being paranoid but I prefer to go direct rather than trusting what social media might think I find interesting with news.
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 2nd August 2020, 04:12 AM   #28
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To actually address the article:

Quote:
(2) The unfortunate reality that media organizations are so starved for content that every time something outrageous garners a small buzz on social media they immediately project and amplify it out to the masses.
This seems to get glossed over. Media organisations are not starved for content. What they are is under financial threat, and therefore chasing clicks/ratings like never before. But if you think that media organisations didn't jump on trends before the internet then, well, you probably weren't alive before the internet.

Quote:
Perhaps you have noticed that journalistic outlets now rush out to broadcast anything weird enough to draw an audience. Which, practically speaking, means taking people from social media and holding them up for all to see. Which is a form of validation, even if the media disagrees with them. Because otherwise, why would they even bother presenting it as a debate?
Again, if you think this is something new, then you simply haven't been paying attention. For example, psychics used to be mainstream television fodder. I don't think watching Doris Stokes cold reading is any less out there than anti-vaxxers. Is QAnon really all that different from the Satanic Panic of the 80s?

I'll grant you that it's disseminated quicker, but these things also seem to be more short-lived as people move on to the next shiny thing.

Quote:
The incels were a big deal a couple years ago. They are (were?) a cohort of college-age men who are celibate and that celibacy is involuntary and they were pissed that women aren’t having sex with them. So they posted really ugly diatribes that explain how the women who rejected them were just angry self-righteous “bitches” out to wield power. Their language was substantially more acerbic; I’m sure you can imagine.

And right on cue the world’s media swooped in to see what the fuss was all about and re-broadcast their concerns to the world. And before you knew it, the incels were a movement.
Here again he's taking something that he's attributing to the mainstream media and blaming social media for it.

Social media did, of course, have a big role in the creation of the incel movement, but he's not actually made the case for that.

This reads a lot less like an article he's thought about and researched and more like, well, like he's the "End Is Nigh Guy" that he's so vehemently against.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 04:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Probably me just being paranoid but I prefer to go direct rather than trusting what social media might think I find interesting with news.
"Social media" isn't thinking anything. It's just a collection of people. If you trust a news outlet's website to tell you what you might find interesting, then you should trust its twitter feed equally, because it's the same people posting the same things.

If anything, twitter will be less curated, because the top of the feed will always be whatever was most recently published. The front page of the website will be whatever the editor thinks is most important. Some outlets will re-tweet a story they think is more important a few times, but the model is still basically the same - whatever is at the top is whatever is whatever is most recent.

And if you're specifically talking about what's trending, then that's literally just whatever is being talked about most. As I said above, some of that is the same as the mainstream media (looking at trending topics in the UK now, an example would be Australia declaring a state of disaster in Victoria, which is also the lead story on the BBC News website), some of it is nonsense (such as Cliff Richard memes in response to a story of an unnamed Tory MP being arrested on suspicion of rape), and some of it is stuff that's not headline news elsewhere (such as the Black Lives Matter protests in Brixton last night, and different groups' reaction to them). It's just another source of information. One that's not bound by the same rules as the press and which doesn't have the same economic imperatives as the press, and which therefore has some advantages and some disadvantages when compared to the press.

There's zero obligation to pay any attention to what's trending, and that it is a feature that exists doesn't affect all the other methods of news dissemination on the platform.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 04:47 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
"Social media" isn't thinking anything. It's just a collection of people. If you trust a news outlet's website to tell you what you might find interesting, then you should trust its twitter feed equally, because it's the same people posting the same things.



If anything, twitter will be less curated, because the top of the feed will always be whatever was most recently published. The front page of the website will be whatever the editor thinks is most important. Some outlets will re-tweet a story they think is more important a few times, but the model is still basically the same - whatever is at the top is whatever is whatever is most recent.



And if you're specifically talking about what's trending, then that's literally just whatever is being talked about most. As I said above, some of that is the same as the mainstream media (looking at trending topics in the UK now, an example would be Australia declaring a state of disaster in Victoria, which is also the lead story on the BBC News website), some of it is nonsense (such as Cliff Richard memes in response to a story of an unnamed Tory MP being arrested on suspicion of rape), and some of it is stuff that's not headline news elsewhere (such as the Black Lives Matter protests in Brixton last night, and different groups' reaction to them). It's just another source of information. One that's not bound by the same rules as the press and which doesn't have the same economic imperatives as the press, and which therefore has some advantages and some disadvantages when compared to the press.



There's zero obligation to pay any attention to what's trending, and that it is a feature that exists doesn't affect all the other methods of news dissemination on the platform.
Will answer this tomorrow as you bring up a few interesting points. But have to get up at 5 in the morning
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Old 2nd August 2020, 04:58 AM   #31
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That sucks. I do miss some things about my former career, but the early mornings and late nights is definitely not one of them.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 05:25 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Exaggerate much? Did you mean to say that if only we had a Dem president NOT ONE PERSON WOULD HAVE DIED?
If I meant that I would have said it.

I love that instead of addressing my point, you brought up an off topic strawman that I can't respond to in depth without going off topic. Real classy.

The point is that the things people are arguing over on social media are often beliefs that have consequences, unlike the "end is nigh" guy on the street corner. His beliefs don't shape policy.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 05:49 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
This might be the relevant XKCD

https://xkcd.com/154/

When the "end is nigh" guy is the leader of the free world with the support of the majority of the senate and massive approval from the party that represents half the country, things are a little different.
If the universe is a pile of uncaring facts your feelings can't change, then who is president is one of those facts you cannot change.

It isn't a little different. It doesn't matter if the thing menacing your life is other people you cannot alter or a gamma ray burst.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 06:20 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If the universe is a pile of uncaring facts your feelings can't change, then who is president is one of those facts you cannot change.

It isn't a little different. It doesn't matter if the thing menacing your life is other people you cannot alter or a gamma ray burst.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdv8qlZp8Jk

EDIT: What the hell, I've got nothing better to do.

Humans are social creatures. the beliefs people accept, retain and act on are not unchangeable forces of random nature. They emerge from our interactions. When we discuss things like political positions, mask wearing etc, whether it's around the dinner table or over facebook, it creates the culture that people form their beliefs from, which creates the basis of their actions.

Our communications with each other isn't merely having feelings, it's the culture that our actions grow from.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:12 AM   #35
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Are we engaging in "social media" right now?

This forum is social media, no?
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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:15 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdv8qlZp8Jk

EDIT: What the hell, I've got nothing better to do.

Humans are social creatures. the beliefs people accept, retain and act on are not unchangeable forces of random nature. They emerge from our interactions. When we discuss things like political positions, mask wearing etc, whether it's around the dinner table or over facebook, it creates the culture that people form their beliefs from, which creates the basis of their actions.

Our communications with each other isn't merely having feelings, it's the culture that our actions grow from.
You are an individual. You are not an "our." Your communication is meaningless. Sure, you can choose to be a meaningless cog in a massive society, but you remain a redundant cog.

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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:22 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Are we engaging in "social media" right now?

This forum is social media, no?
It seems that under more formal definitions, probably not. A key component appears to be the creation of individual profiles that the service facilitates interaction between profiles.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:31 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
Social Media is the best thing to happen to the world.
Do you really think that?
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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:36 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Are we engaging in "social media" right now?

This forum is social media, no?
It sort of is, although it's a little different in that it isn't de facto tied to our real-world identities. The forum is more like old news boards than Myspace or something.

That being said, hanging out here too much can still do very bad things to me mentally. I can't speak for anybody else, but I doubt I'm the only one. I've been very deliberately limiting the time I spend online because of that. Shutdowns give the excuse to be online excessively, and boy did I suffer the effects. I would have killed myself if I hadn't made a conscious decision to block Reddit, limit time here to an hour a day tops (can be non-consecutive), and only get news updates by calling my dad.
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Last edited by Butter!; 2nd August 2020 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 07:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
People are the problem.

Social media just exposes them and our ignorance of how pervasive these wacky beliefs are. I think it reveals the need to push skepticism and critical thinking into the mainstream, perhaps in the high schools as a graduation requirement. I think people should have some experience in making thoughtful arguments instead of working from an entrenched opinion all the time. People think they can live as freely ignorant as they want.
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