The Snake Emoji that Ate our Brains
A word about the social media wars and who said what to whom.
Can we take a breath here? First of all, only 22% of Americans are on Twitter, 10% of those (which means about 2% of Americans) generate 80% of all tweets. This is a self-selecting universe, representing nobody. It is led by Twitler himself, tweeting his tweets in the wee hours and leading an army of devotees who have zero principles or scruples and will gladly to whatever comes into their minds to annoy, disorient, divide and destroy us, including taking on fake identities to annoy progressives and turn us against each other. They are laughing their asses off over this in their dark corners of cyberspace. (Am I telling anyone anything they don’t already know?)
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are the problem. They make their money by generating hits, which translate into eyeballs for sale. (You knew this, too, right?) Both are driven by algorithms designed to create maximum traffic. Everyone knows that outrage drives clicks. That is why social media creates the illusion that there are more people posting potty-talk than there really are. The algorithms are finely tuned to find the outrageous and amplify it ten, a hundred, a thousand times, making it unavoidable and giving the illusion that it is way, way bigger than it really is. Reason sinks to the bottom of the pile and venom floats to the top, ricochetting around, amplifying itself and expanding exponentially while normal conversations that require reading and reflection fade away.
And yet, I watch in dismay as a pumped up frenzy over some midnight dope who tweeted a snake emoji (and was made to look like a cast of thousands by some wonky algorithm) distracts us from the fact that the planet is on fire, people are going broke if they get sick, full time workers are living in their cars and kids are still in cages. Can we get a grip please?
As for those who cannot rest until the candidate they are most pissed off at “reins in” people who he could not control even if he could find them… The best way to rein this in is to elect someone who will regulate these sewers and make them stop manipulating us, facilitating fake news and providing a breeding ground for foreign enemies whose goal is to divide us and make us crazy. That will not be accomplished by someone who is taking money from the people profiting off this crisis.