You have probably noticed there stuff out there in the digital workd that is highly unusual. We all know abuot the “I believe (insert political opinion here) and if you don’t agree, you are evil and must be banned from the solar system” screeds you can find just about everywhere. But there’s plenty of other craziness. I did a Google search on conspiracy theories, and found there are reputable news sources, podcasts and entire websites dedicated to them – enough to keep you “busy” for days.
I’ve written before about using social media for good, but here I’m thinking about the internet in general. With all the hysteria and mis-information you can get wrapped up in, here are 2 things you can do in response.
Keep your head about you. While there is plenty of hysteria and mis-information, there is also some very good information. After the conspiracy theory search, I did a search for logical thinking. (Well, actually I searched “logic” and only got hits for the rapper that uses that word as his stage name.) Stay away from click-bait – headlines with extreme or sensational language are designed not to inform, but for you to click through so the site owner can earn revenue from advertisers based on clicks and site visitor numbers. Even if you go ahead and and read it, keep in mind what the obvious purpose is and don’t put too much stock in it. If you are researching a controversial topic, read views from all sides. For example, if you’re researching global warming, read opinions that are both for and against it. In particular with news and political issues, you should read at least 3 or 4 different accounts of the same issue and piece together the truth from all those different angles. Remember that you have a bias like everyone else, and you need to ensure you are doing more than going where your bias will only be agreed with.
Have some fun. While there are certainly times when all seriousness needs to be maintained, I think most people could use a little more fun and humor in their day. On Twitter, I follow Hold My Beer, where you will see people doing all kinds of silly stuff that usually results in people crashing to the ground, generally unhurt but looking quite stupid. There are all kinds of funny accounts like this, including “Dumb Drunk People” on Twitter and “I Did Not Slap You, I High-Fived Your Face” on Facebook.
You know those crazy memes you see everywhere? There’s a site where anyone can make one. My coach Regina Lewis has been moving this weekend. Moving is such a strenuous activity. I decided to put a few moving memes in our Facebook group:
This is the kind of fun I like to have with the internet. As I’ve written many times before, I think that people get too easily offended and need to embrace the funny side of things.
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