So, it turns out there’s a reason that America has become more stupid. And it’s directly tied to social media consumption. There’s actually an article on it in the Atlantic (see link below).
I heard about this as I was listening to NPR. They had an interview with the guy who wrote the article and the upshot of it all is pretty fascinating. He basically uses the Tower of Babel as an analogy for current America. Which is apt as we are no longer communicating as a society and everything is fragmenting into chaos- halting any positive growth or building.
Pretty scary stuff actually.
The interesting thing is that they can basically pinpoint the decline to 2009. Research points to two “innovations” which basically started the demise of our society: the like button and the retweet.
Two seemingly innocuous inventions on social media platforms have basically destroyed our society. The like button gave feedback on posts- aka data to mine. Polarizing posts that engendered anger got the most responses. Amp up the gate and amp up the responses.
The retweet allowed for broader sharing of “information”— and much more quickly. This leading to exponential dissemination. Aka “viral” posts that reached broad swaths of society.
Facebook and Twitter each adopted the others inventions (shares and likes) and soon all platforms followed suit.
Now social media becomes this Wild West of disinformation and hatred and divisiveness. I’m just a few short years, society starts to crumble. Basically by 2015 the die is cast. The “left” has skewed to “wokeness” while the “right” has skewed to “alternative facts”. Trump capitalized on Twitter- being a great way to amp up rage, get eyeballs, and drive “news”.
And we all know how that turned out, because we lived 4 years of it.
I highly recommend reading the article. It’s really interesting and also troubling. Especially now with Elon possibly making Twitter even more lawless.
Domine deus, miserere nobis.