Tech as we know it provides a great many benefits. It enables business processes, provides for a range of new entertainment and information sources and allows us to do work and remain abreast of critical information. However, there is an area of tech that is proving problematic and this is increasing. Social Media applications can be fun yet dangerous providing us with information that is unvetted and potentially prone to inaccuracies. The ramifications of this can be far ranging. Further, you can waste a lot of time using tech tools and to what advantage are you really getting from all of this.
There is one thing all these social media apps have in common; they are very addicting. This is related to the effect these programs have on dopamine. Using social media apps causes the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a naturally occurring brain substance or chemical that makes us feel good. Drugs cause the release of dopamine and because they make us feel good we get addicted. The same thing happens with social media apps. They stimulate the release of dopamine and hence addiction.
Addictions and the Dangers
Any addiction can be dangerous. The more addicted we are the more dangerous are the outcomes. A good example of this is the time we waste on the use of the program. We often feel we don’t have enough time. What we don’t have enough of is quality time.
What do people think they are getting from facebook. Is is quality interactions. The concept of a friend in Facebook is the last thing that is happening. Do you know this person. Are they telling the truth. Are you exchanging trivia. Or if it is a person you know you might just be keeping up with them.
Quality of The Information
We are under information overload today. Some of it is quality information whereas other can be considered suspect. If you look at:
no one is vetting the information to ensure accuracy. Anything can be written getting you to believe:
- conspiracy theories
- racist remarks
- distortions of history
- and on it goes
Who are the editors of much of this that is thrown our way? What’s the proof.
Facebook the Greatest Danger to Democracy
Facebook is the most evil of the social media platforms if we want to protect Democracy, freedom and the pursuit of happiness we should shut Facebook down immediately. Anyone can take out any form of add whether truthful or not. Anyone can write untruths. A democracy can only survive if we trust our information. Facebook is so untrustworthy there is no time left. We must act now. Otherwise the deluge of crap will spew confusing us the consumer of this nonsense.
Where did Americans get so much of their crazy information about what was going on in their society. It’s alright to be angry but that anger must be addressed with truth. Not the lies that spill from Facebook.
Facebook isn’t the only culprit. Fox News is nothing less than a vile institution of untruths and extremely stupid people. However, there is nothing like reading from a friend on Facebook these untruth’s and then believing them potentially destroying the freedom you grew up on.
Donald Trump a good Case in Point
Twitter, one of the biggest social platforms, was used effectively to spew Trump’s dangerous rhetoric. His vitriols eventually lead to the storming of Capital Hill on Jan. 6 2021. Hate rhetoric not only lead to the storming of the buildings but to the death of 5 people.
It’s been said Trump won his 2016 victory on Twitter. Twitter finally deactivated his account for inappropriately using it but there are no editors to what is written, no fact checkers and what you have is not free speech but a free for all.
Youtube has Valuable Information but again How is this Fact Checked
Youtube has been a phenomenon since the beginning. There is a lot of fantastic content on the platform. Much of it is very informative. However, how accurate do we know the information to be. We really base this on good faith. Some of the videos are fact checked and well researched and many of the videos are just opinions presented as fact.
If you look at the technology channels they may help understand what is happening with tech and lead us to reliable purchase decisions. On the other hand, the tech channels seem to promote the high end, expensive product as it is more interesting. It has the effect though of encouraging us to buy what we don’t need. If we’re addicted to tech, these channels could be downright dangerous.
Knowledge is Power but..
There is an expression “Knowledge is Power” but only in so far as the information that makes up our knowledge is relatively accurate. If knowledge is founded on poor or inaccurate information is this really knowledge or ill founded constructs. In this case, the knowledge could be very dangerous and might even make up a conspiracy theory. People acting on this could be unduly violent for all the wrong reasons.
This is clearly what is being seen in the U.S. People read all this garbage on Facebook and think it’s the truth. It is the farthest thing from the truth. America is in trouble. There is a large portion of its society which has not benefitted over last 30 to 40 years from the advancements and may even be worse off than they were. This ill founded information feeds their anger and the next thing you have is a coup. Why not. Why should the few be getting richer during COVID and the masses are loosing their jobs, their houses and are having trouble feeding their kids. Violence or the overthrow of the establishment has always been the natural outcome.
However, we don’t need poorly obtained information feeding this anger. We need a logical analysis of what’s going on and solutions. We need to ensure people are properly informed and not misinformed. There will be a second civil war in the States and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this. People can only take so much. Seventy million voted for Trump and 77 million for Biden. There are two America’s at least. Can Biden fix this in four years. Likely not but he will give it his best.
Jeff Bezos has no more right to ridiculous wealth than the King of England when America separated from England as they no longer wanted a King. However, right wing groups will take advantage of this anger. Feed the people what you need to stoke their anger and you will have a society seriously close to self destruction. Americans are stubbornly waking up to this reality.
Systems with no checks and balances and a way to weed out falsehoods is no longer helpful but extremely harmful. We are likely at a tipping point. There is no turning back from regression of progress but there are ways to ensure damage isn’t purposefully done and lives needlessly lost. We need to stop the Trump’s that would fuel the fire both intentionally and due to his stupidity. Fortunately his social media accounts were shut down but look at how far things went before that happened,
Is there an Answer
The answer to the problem of this new information technology revolution is not easy. Canada and Britain are two of the solid democracies left while France and the States are Republics without the backdrops to protect them from falling into autocratic chaos. In this article Democracy or republic? the distinction is well drawn out.
Part of the problem is that these social media platforms are free wheeling, anything you want goes and parade as legitimate business practices. The social media apps though gained great success as they are so free wheeling. You could post anything and get a response quickly. However, some of these apps are far more destructive than others. Facebook is probably the worst of the bunch.
Facebook was Russia’s main route of attack on American democracy in 2016 helping Trump get elected. Facebook had no more imperative. Driven solely by money and sheer profit they never vetted what was being said and didn’t seem to care. Laws exist in the Republic. No business is given free reign to sell anything it wants. Why these dystopian platforms.
I won’t pretend to have the answers to this very complicated problem but Facebook would be a good place to start. Censoring them and breaking them up would be a step to control their power. Power in the tech sector is out of control. There is a constant barrage of reports on the power of these companies and some of their less than ethical ways of doing business.
America now knows they need to do a self-analysis to begin to repair the damage that has befallen their society. They need to figure out what has gone wrong and begin to address this. Should they not things will get worse not better. This isn’t 100 years ago during the great depression. It is a whole new era and one that seems very dangerous. It’s time to get a handle on this before it is too late and it becomes very difficult to reverse. More than one grand or macro thinker feels America is on the verge of another civil war. America’s problems are endemic to a class system in which people are getting richer and others poorer and disenfranchised. This can only be resolved by truthful information. Not the vile that spews from this new social media. And is this media really social.