Category Archives: In Practice

Oroville Dam emergency turns in to social media political propaganda opportunity

Just hours after a mass evacuation order was given, the emergency in Northern California turned social media into its usual outrage culture filled with political propaganda. This event has provided a real time illustration of the way that social media is collapsing in on itself.

The first and third comments in this screen capture illustrate both sides:

 

 

 

 

 

Water scientist Peter Gleick says he cannot tell which is worse: “gloating comments” on social media might be worse than evacuating 190,000 people under threat of flooding and loss of life  – and he cannot tell which is worse? (His comments reinforce his documented reputation for unethical behavior.)

The environmental spin:

 

 

At this point, we don’t know the cause of the Oroville Dam problems – design, construction, maintenance, operational management errors, policy maker decisions, weather, uncertainty, history of floods in the area and so on – but on social media, we know the cause with precision …. or perhaps someone doesn’t want to let a crisis go to waste when it presents an opportunity for propaganda messaging. (There were numerous tweets similar to the above.)

The above were posted within 1-3 hours of the evacuation order.

The next day, but less than 24 hours since the evacuation order was given, Twitter’s #OrovilleDam tag has turned into mostly political propaganda. Literally, nearly half of the tweets were politicizing the disaster:

Some begin to note that turning a real time disaster in to politicking looks awkward:

These two appeared adjacent to one another on Twitter:

And so on. Never let a disaster of unknown cause go to waste when there is social media propaganda to spread!

(Note – I waited until after the crisis was largely resolved before publishing this post. The evacuation order was lifted yesterday afternoon.)

APA sees sharp rise in anxiety among Americans-why? Social media?

“The results of the January 2017 poll show a statistically significant increase in stress for the first time since the survey was first conducted in 2007,” the APA said on Wednesday in a report on the survey of 1,019 adults living in the U.S., conducted from Jan. 5 to Jan. 19 by Harris Poll.

….

“I don’t think it can be just be boiled down to the side that won vs. the side that didn’t,” Wright said. “There is something going on across the aisle.”

Source: Americans Just Broke the Psychologists’ Stress Record – Bloomberg

Yes, there is something – it is everyone’s attachment to social media and its culture of perpetual outrage, anger and hate. I continue to hear from more and more people who have chosen to leave the outrage behind, by reducing or eliminating social media from their lives, or “unfriending” and “unfollowing” those who are a daily source of outrage.

Many are taking notice of “angry, bitter” posts filling our social media

Starting with last year’s election and spilling over into these first weeks of President Trump’s presidency, the rioting and looting on social media continue. My Facebook feed is being fed by angry, bitter and sarcastic posts from both sides of the issues.

Source: Social Media 101 for Christians – Victoria Advocate – Victoria, TX

And,

The best way to let your faith show and shine on social media is by sharing the good things God has done for you personally, by asking for and offering prayers for others, and by encouraging people with God’s gospel promises.

If you are not a religious person you can still share positive and inspiring stories about life, your family, your friends and more. Ask yourself, did my post on social media help make someone better as a result? Or did it just make them upset, angry or confused? Through our own actions, we can turn social media in to a positive force for good. We will feel better about ourselves by using social media so that we help others.

Why not start doing this right now?