Friday, March 09, 2018

Mark Twain was Right About Social Media

Mark Twain is reputed to have said; "A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Ironically it was not Mr. Clemens, but someone named Charles Haddon Spurgeon. That made it no less true then and all the more salient today with the Twits and the FaceFooks. 

According to an MIT study of Twitter, falsehoods travel at light speed (up to 100,000) shares, while the truth slinks along on the solar wind (1,000).

I'm not on Twitter thankfully, so I can't comment on the propensity for propaganda on that platform, but I would be astounded if it's worse than the FaceFooks. And since all my snowflake friends in the Cult of Con have unfriended me to avoid confrontations with facts, I don't see much of what constitutes FaceFook "news" over on that side of the aisle anymore. But if it's anything like that which is passed around by my liberal friends (and I know from past experience that it's worse) then we are a nation divided less by the truth and more by lies. For example, I'm seeing many of my liberal cohort on the FaceFooks poo-pooing Russian meddling because HILLARY! DNC! a "logic" that fails to recognize that two things can be true simultaneously, but salves the need for self-reinforcement. But hey they're in "good" company with FuxSnooze, Five Deferments Donny and the Trumpladyte horde!

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 67% of Americans get news from social media, with FaceFook by far accounting for the lion's share. One cannot successfully run a Republic on falsehoods and still promote the general welfare, so We the People are in deep trouble. If we don't wake up and get some media savvy we're screwed!

So here are some good rules of thumb:

  • Use lots of critical thinking and healthy skepticism when consuming news;
  • Use multiple sources on important subject matters, skewed to serious journalists from entities that employ journalistic standards;
  • If it's from a partisan source, it's almost certainly not the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth;
  • TV is a good source for news about the weather;
  • If it sounds too weird to be true be very skeptical;
  • If it's on social media be very very skeptical;
  • is NOT a credible source of information!
  • And for Cripe Sakes double check the veracity of information to avoid spreading crap around the interwebs and polluting the "brains" of your fellow Americans. It's your patriotic duty!