Social Media – exacerbates conflict and divisiveness

This is a very cut down post from one of my other blogs …. although the headline sounds awful (which it is) one must say that the circus was already there …. with social media we have just offered the platform where divisiveness and conflict is perpetuated … so it flourishes and grows – globally.

My own experience on Social Media, I have found it to follow Carl Jung famous quote “Thinking is difficult, so that’s why most people judge” – when someones response to a post via a jarring condemnation or criticism, we know that this comes from their own perspective, their own beliefs or dogma .. they are not verifying the trigger (the original post) they are reacting to the trigger without establishing if it is true to start with.

In the other blogs I have gone into the reason people react rather than reflect before they respond … here and here

 

Let start with the trigger for a social media post, a headline, a comment or some content that we see that has appeared on a social media or main media platform – many take the words literally, instead of verifying … the writer (who comments) responds with what he feels is (their) truth … without any reticence about the rights he has even to comment or any due diligence on the trigger statement itself.

This is important I feel .. if you have any questions of concerns about the veracity of information you are receiving via the internet from news and more particularly Social Media …. ask yourself the following questions ..

1. Who is writing the stories? – is the source credible .. though that is not always a guarantee of veracity to know if it is true, fake or misinformation, designed to misinform and create or increase divisiveness.

It is hard these days to know what news services are credible … those sources from my youth such as the UK Broadcasters, now are suspect … all one can do is to seek confirmation from a number of sources.

2. Who benefits from these stories? – does a political party or aspect of society benefit from say misinformation contained in the story .. please evaluate the story impartially, not through the primary filter of your personal political beliefs and convictions.

3. Who is missing from these stories? The other side, a different perspective on the situation.

4. Verify anything that can be verified in the story, don’t share it or believe it merely because it agrees with your general beliefs or with your confirmation bias.

The whole concept of conspiracies (real or not) also feeds into our fears and powerlessness, our victim mentality – this can generate frustration and eventually anger and on occasion, action to right a perceived wrong, if we don’t let it go or educate ourselves. Those that practise divisiveness and manipulation of the population have been wildly successful, since conspiracy theories, race resentment, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny and other base bigotries ( sorry emotions ) have a significant visceral appeal to ingrained beliefs amongst, those susceptible.

The reason for fake and divisive news seems clear … from the old concept of Divide and rule (or divide and conquer, from Latin dīvide et imperā) – but just imagine a world where we were all working together rather than as now huge energies and resources are wasted on things we cannot control – but they keep us busy and so not asking difficult questions of or holding Politicians and Governments accountable. Politics purposefully introduces fake (lies) news and misinformation (such as a possible threat, internal or external) to maintain their control.

Social Media as an experience seems like humanity expressing itself as adolescent in its thinking … like children in a playground, emotional reactions without reflection, and without thought.

Please everyone, our actions express our priorities … please think before you act.

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