“Facebook, has two billion active users. Basically, most of the planet that is on the internet is using Facebook. I feel like we’ve all grown numb to just how insane this is. But it is insane. And as a result, Facebook is now one of the most highly valued companies in the world. And, perhaps even more insane: still growing.”
“We are biological organisms with thousands of years of evolution geared towards villages of 100, 150 people. What on earth made us think that in the span of a single generation, after a couple generations in cities with lots of people around us but wherein we still didn’t actually know that many people, that we could suddenly jump to a global community? If you think about it, it’s insanity. Is there any evidence our brains and hearts can handle it? Has anyone studied it at all?”
—Rick Webb | My Internet Mea Culpa
“Information wars in emerging markets may not represent as big a threat to Facebook’s business as angry lawmakers in Washington. But people are dying, and communities are tearing themselves apart with the tools Facebook has built. That should qualify as an even greater emergency in Menlo Park.”
“Tech companies are now directly fighting against empathy. They are building feeds that shape your mindset and distract you from the world around you. They want to fill you with rage to foster engagement until you feel empty inside. Feeds now divide people and affect the structure of our societies.”
“Gum sales have been relentlessly dropping for the past five years because people don’t look around when they wait in line to pay.”
“Shaming a stranger on a deserted street is far riskier than joining a Twitter mob of thousands.”
“Our ‘outrage’ bar continues to move firmly up and to the right as our feeds become saturated by egregious stories. We become numb to tragedies because we’re unable to process the emotions they engender at the speed with which they arise.”
“Now you can almost curate your whole experience based on the images you see online, and it’s an unnatural approach to travel. It makes me wonder what happened to exploration.”
“Facebook has become so central to how people communicate, and it has so much market power, that it’s essentially immune to market signals.”
“In a world where social media is the pre-eminent news conduit, ‘If it’s outrageous, it’s contagious’ is the new ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’”
“Soon enough, Marxist Juggalo memes popped up on the Facebook page for the march, and swathes of Twitter leftists swapped their online avatars for versions with the classic black-and-white Juggalo face paint.”
This failure of U.S. broadcast media to use proper news judgment in covering Trump is among the gravest professional sins the industry has committed in recent memory because it fails to recognize the manipulation involved.
The point of life is not to put dog ears on yourself and post it online for everyone to see. It’s fun, it’s adorable, but it’s the visual equivalent of masturbating—there’s no point other than immediate gratification.
The lens through which people understand politics and politicians is extraordinarily powerful. And Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on. You can surf those emotions. I’ve said it before, but if I watched Fox I wouldn’t vote for me!