On the rise of disinformation through the dumbing down of Social Media

For years I have been complaining that social media has shifted away from conversations towards marketing. It has shifted away from peer to peer conversations towards a broadcast model where crowds listen to and share individual sources rather than interact within a social network. As a result of this communication shift people re-share content rather than create their own.

Until the election of Trump and Brexit it was unpleasant but had to be seen as part of modern life. We had to accept that sensationalism and dumbed down content were popular. We had to accept that most people saw social media as RSS rather than conversation.

Within the last year we have seen that the shift from social media being conversational has shifted towards trolling, disinformation and misinformation. We see that people speak about living in a “post truth” age and more. In such an environment we see that people hear what they want to hear and vote for what they idealise rather than what makes logical sense. Brexit and Trump are consequences of people following idealism rather than realism. In such an intellectual environment social media, rather than encouraging the flow of information and context has had the opposite effect. When Obama was running for President the blogosphere was seen as a gate keeper, as part of the fourth estate, as part of the checks and balances.

With Trump and Brexit we see that the Tabloid press in England and Troll armies in other countries have deliberately misguided people, deliberately made them vote against their own self-interests.

For years I saw the web as a place to socialise and make new friends but within the last year, with troll armies, marketing and more I see that conversations are declining. The Return on Investment that I used to enjoy as a human rather than a marketer justified the time I spent socialising via social media. In 2016 the Return on Investment of using Social Media became negative. I watched youtube series, I read books, I read mainstream media, I listened to podcasts. In 2017 I want to replace the time that I spent on social media on reading books. In this day and age the cost of social media exceeds the potential return on investment. I finally find that social media is a waste of time. It took a decade for me to fall out of love with social media.

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richard

I am a documentary producer currently living in Switzerland and learning about Via Ferrata so that I may produce the most interesting and relevant documentary possible. Through five years of practice and introducing novices to the sport I believe I will be ready for the next season.

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