I’m making an example of the Times because they like to consider themselves America’s “Paper of Record”, and even they are now using fear and outrage to gain attention, no better than a Twitter or Facebook troll, but it’s happening everywhere. It’s also no surprise that it’s becoming popular among all media outlets because it works. If we’ve learned anything from fake news sites, biased cable channels, YouTube “experts” and social media influencers it’s that you will never lose an audience by making people afraid. You will get their attention, you will stimulate a fear-based response that causes their brain to kick into survival mode and become hyperalert to dangers, which you are happy to continue to feed them.
Let me make a distinction here, between what the “right” thing to do for a social media company would be, and what they are within their rights to do. I am on record as saying I am for more free speech, almost always. Because I want stupid, dangerous people to be as public as they…
On Wednesday, as we watched the invasion of the Capitol building play out, my first thought had everything to do with how little police and national guard presence there was. The reason that was my first thought was because we have watched this rally, and the ensuing violence, be planned on right in front of our faces on social media for the last few weeks. All you had to do was pay even a little bit of attention, and it was clear that there was a significant number of people who weren’t there to simply protest, but were there fully expecting this to be the start of a civil war. It was obvious enough that I knew it, just from an occasional look at Twitter or TikTok. I didn’t even have to go to the dark corners of the web to find it.
That’s why what happened today, and everything that has been leading up to it saddens me. The Republican Party has eaten itself. The QAnon conspiracy theorists couldn’t have done a better job of blowing up the GOP if they were literally working for the Democrats. (Maybe they were?)
According to this Psychology Today article, they matter because we are completely incapable of ignoring them. Even when we know something isn’t true, it still impacts our thought processes because our brains cannot unlearn information we take in. The example from the article is a good place to start: Now imagine this scenario: You are…
Smart enough to get in, not smart enough to cover their tracks when getting paid. That doesn’t seem so smart. Which goes to show, that security around Twitter could have been a lot better, and people who work there maybe should have been a little less careless. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of us when even a big tech company can’t get this right. How many of us have people on staff who might fall for this kind of phone-based attack?
What should we think of the complicated, super-smart hackers who also manage to be so easily identifiable? Should we accept that the hardest thing about any conspiracy, and this goes for all the conspiracy theories out there, is making sure one person doesn’t do something stupid and give it all away? That. actually, is nearly impossible, and is the one thing that makes most theories unbelievable to me. This hack proves to be a perfect example.