All social media sites, even this one, come with buttons for liking a post and adding comments. Ever noticed what your brain feels like, that subliminal surge of neurochemicals, that happens when pressing those buttons, or when those buttons have lit up under your post. It’s quite the Pavlovian, conditioned rush that has gone not unnoticed, but nevertheless normalised over this last decade.Continue reading Digital distancing: Freedom from the Pavlovian grip of the ‘like’ button
In my country, as in many other places there are two sides, which mock each other relentlessly. One of these sides coined the term WhatsApp University to imply that people on the other side were getting most of their information from social media sites promoting fake news, which they were indeed guilty of doing. But when the people on the other side heard about WhatsApp University, they quickly cottoned on, and started deriding those on the other side for getting their information from WhatsApp.
If we stop to think about it, there is something very important buried in the chronicle of stories written by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. It’s in the detail deep down in the stories. Ostensibly, what we tend to remember are the Israeli spies, open bathrobes and emanations into potted plants—the dramatic circumstances. People are tuned to enact and respond to that in other people and in the stories they read and watch. Spectacle is what great mythology and morality fables are about, we live for the soap opera.
It was all quite innocuous, till it was not. Looking up crockpot chicken dinner recipes on YouTube would lead me to a puzzle at the heart of the modern world.
There is a theory doing the rounds that we all live in bubbles of our own making and this is supposedly behind the divisiveness of the present time. In an earlier post, I tried to work out the fundamental problems with the bubble theory. Social media is probably more responsible than we are for the bubbles of our own making. Although, it is true that we live in bubbles we fill with biased opinions and people that second these views, bubble-living isn’t unique to this or any other time period.
We have atavised. Once a globe, an earth. Now we are but a sum of our tribes. Vanished is that pale blue dot. Banished. Into the darkness.
Horror became so quotidian, that when the trolls crawled out of their comment boxes and bayoneted away the experts and nerds, who had acquired their information through study, we didn’t blink. How did the ghost of uninformed opinion gain substantiation, corporalise and destroy nuanced perspective?
Perhaps we have always felt it, that slow, burning resentment against anyone who dares to know better, more than than us the average person. A troll is born in burning, silent resentment.
That resentful undercurrent ran through long-ago Friends episodes, where dumb Joey was always more popular than know-it-all Ross, it was why The Simpsons’ nerdy Lisa could never sell as many t-shirts as her prankster brother Bart. But whereas both Joey and Bart had heart, the troll is devoid of it.