Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Socially Intact Without Pursuit of Fact *RR

Jay Baer, over on “Convince & Convert”, whose blog I frequent just articulated a very interesting theorem as a byline on today’s post. You can read his post by clicking the link above. The question he asked was; “Is Facebook Making Us Stupid?” To which he put forward several common, yet rhetorical, objections to visiting sites of source1. I think his question poses a truth that is right but has deeper implications and is underpinned by a larger agenda, or at least fault in society.

What’s the problem?

Not by offense but rather honest critique; we’re all stupid. We’re not stupid in every way, and certainly not all the time, but in some way, at some time you’ve been, as have I, stupid. Utterly incapable of knowing truth…because we were insecure, mistaught, hurt, blind, whatever. If you think over your experience, I’m certain you can recollect a time in your life when the real truth didn’t matter neither what someone said, or the evidence they presented, you simply refused to believe concerning the matter at hand. For whatever ever the reason, you had arrived at an unshakable conclusion…and then when you turned 30 that crumbled. Right? For those of you who haven’t turned 30 yet… šŸ™‚

Is that the problem or the opportunity?

That’s a sinister question isn’t it? Scared me to even think of us being stupid as an opportunity. But isn’t it? Doesn’t the thief take advantage of the unaware? Had you known someone planned to rob you, you would have stayed home, shotgun in hand or had the police on standby.

Cool story bro, how does this tie into social media?

The opportunity in social communities is that people are no longer under the boot of informationĀ suppression. And the hope is, if you’re motivated about a particular topic you can inform the masses of the opportunity they share by being in “the know”. There’s the far left of this idea which simply accepts content on it’s surface but may not be remarkably impacted by it’s content, then the far right would be to create hierarchal diagram of truthers, dis-info, and noise content generators, assign a value and if you’re feeling quite spry, you might become a leader yourself and make that your truth campaign. But people, for the most part don’t…do they? No, just like in every other social community and context, there are those who are hyped up about something and the rest of us are just content to let controversial or uncommon thoughts whiz right past us without a second glance.

So back to Jay Baer’s Question, is Facebook Making Us All Stupid?

Social networking and information distribution in general share a common theme and excites a particular chromosome in the masses. That chromosome is what I will now define as the I. D. I. O. T. or Ā Ima Dummy Incapable Of Truth chromosome. WE ALL HAVE IT…we just don’t all suffer from it’s effects all the time. This is where the genesis of the problem begins to emerge. For people who have this condition on full-throttle are unable to discern the difference between the Pied Piper and the Genuine article, furthermore are disinterested, to say the least, to vet the information distributed to them. As a brief aside let me define Incapable in this context; to be incapable of something doesn’t always mean you can’t ever do it, so to speak, it simply means that you don’t recognize, you don’t understand in some sense or context and the information is otherwise unavailable to your person. e.g. a baby is incapable of understanding sharing, though we don’t hold that against them, it’s just their condition. They will, or must be taught. To know that is to be prepared to do something about it.

How has social media done this. Again, we’re tapping the chromosome who’s design has a genetic link to laziness and unfettered trust of easily digestible ideas. Therefore, when this person confronts information that crosses the threshold of that chromosome, they make a conciouss decision to engage it, or disengage it; and if to disengage the pursuit of real truth is lost, sometimes forever. You see this person as someone who buys every conspiracy theory out there without checking the facts, or quoting scripture, having never read it before….They become a Fact Dispensing Engine with a relative propability of spreading DIS-information. In the unlikely scenario that they’ve stumbled upon real truth, the real risk there is that it’s misapplied.

Does Social Networking do this to us? NO! I say that it capitalizes on the inherent design to desire to know what is true, but the systemic flaw of being utterly incapable, at times, of ever really searching that out.

What’s the point here?

The relative ease of social media and communities to distribute the best content to our inboxes, mobile phones and rss readers, does not by it’s nature, equal accuracy, or even imply that the author spent a nano-second validating the facts they are presenting. Be careful to not be lazy, and turn that I.D.I.O.T chromosome off…, if you can. Which sounds simple to say, but in total disclosure, is very difficult to do in practice. And lastly, be patient with your fellow social networker, they are just under the condition that we both once suffered. Simply ignorant with no experience to help them break free of it yet. Be kind. The opportunity to cut someone down, however easy and available should be resisted with all strength.

1Sites of source are the sites that the original content was first created.

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