Category Archives: Emotion

Is this why social media outrage is popular?

This blog has noted that many social media enthusiasts enjoy the culture of perpetual outrage that seems so prevalent there (and elsewhere too).  Here, Theodore Dalrymple suggests that outrage some how gives meaning to otherwise boring lives:

“Outrage is a substitute for religion: It convinces us that our existence has some kind of meaning or significance beyond itself, that is to say beyond the paltry flux of day-to-day existence, especially when that existence is a securely comfortable one. Therefore we go looking for things to be outraged about as anteaters look for ants. Of all emotions, outrage is not only one of the most pleasurable but also one of the most reliable.”

Quoted from Theodore Dalrymple

Using outright lies to inflame the target and spread propaganda

11800154_1666909613542254_6320716305316920615_nTL;DR Summary

To accuse a health care practitioner of murder, as done in this social media poster, is libel.

This is one of the most disturbing and vicious propaganda posters distributed on Facebook.  This poster illustrates the horrendous danger of social media, the sick individuals who inhabit social media (and newspaper comment forums) and the undue influence they hold over others through spreading their own messages of hate.

This example illustrates how easy it is to
1. Create a propaganda poster out of anything, twisting the original out of context.
2. Quickly spread it on social media – because people share without thinking.
3. And stupidly engage in online libel.

I do not know the original source for this altered image but it has been shared widely online, and then commented by many other people who believe the poster is accurate. Thus, an outright lie was turned into a “true fact” by propaganda, even though it is absolutely false.

Social media is very, very frightening. Outright lies are shared and turned into “true facts” through friction-less social media sharing, leading to the creation of a false virtual world where people who vote are making future decisions based on falsehoods.

The more you examine social media propaganda the more you realize, “What if you everything you think you know is a big lie?” (See next post below this one)

How do we get control over this spread of falsehood and hate on line – by people who would never ever view themselves as discriminatory and yet routinely group individuals by their membership in a group (the exact behavior or racism, sexism, ageism, ethnic-ism, etc). This behavior cuts to the core of the thinking processes of those who engage in these behaviors.

How social media propaganda inflames our emotions

Social media:

“It’s the polarization of America based on fleeting statements without substance,” Flores said. Much of social media can be described as “fleeting statements without substance,” I say, prompting reactionary responses such as anger and frustration. It’s a digital world where silence can be perceived as consent, and opinions can be perceived as facts.

Source: Has social media rewired our political impressions? – Post-Tribune

That’s right – if you did not Like, then you obviously disagree!

Having recently cut back on social media interaction, I find myself freed from the highly emotional screaming and anger present on social media. I feel calmer as a result.

News media target your emotions to increase customer engagement – and increase anxiety

Regarding those who closely follow the news:

‘“These are the people with an intolerance of uncertainty, and are probably already anxious individuals, and are exactly the ones for whom negative news has a negative psychological impact on their own personal anxieties and worries,” he said.

As consumers become satiated, the news media responds by increasing the “emotionality” of its coverage, meaning negativity is emphasized to keep customers engaged, he wrote.’

Source: Fatigued by the News? Experts Suggest How to Adjust Your Media Diet – The New York Times

With the ability today to measure every “click” on a news story, the media is gradually becoming more and more like “fake news” web sites, designing stories and headlines with inflammatory and often perjorative headlines to drive more Likes, Shares and eyeballs for advertisers.

Inflammatory and scary stories (“fear” is a powerful propaganda tool) engage readers and viewers. Those that are emotionally hooked are more likely to read the entire story or watch the TV news report. Further, those who respond on an emotional level are also more likely to respond to advertising messages – in effect, once emotionally engaged, our “guard” is down. We stop thinking.

At some point, as we realize the culture of perpetual outrage is keeping us in a heightened state of anxiety, many of us tune out and consume less and less news.