“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!
[The new media ecosystem] means everything is true and nothing is true. An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.
Maybe intellectuals have always been persecuted and shoved in lockers, but something in my gut tells me we’re at a low point — where social media interaction has replaced genuine debate and political discourse, where politicians are judged by whether we’d want to have a beer with them, where scientific consensus is rejected, where scientific research is underfunded, where journalism is drowning in celebrity gossip.
I see Kim Kardashian’s ass at the top of CNN.com, and I am scared.