Ignore the Social Media Echo Chambers
(originally published in TechCrunch as “Ignore the Social Media Echo Chambers”)
After Election Day, NPR, The Washington Post and various blogs described America as bitterly divided or on the brink of civil war. These were by the same journalists, pundits and intellectuals who only know how to sell fear. These were by the same journalists, pundits, and intellectuals who only know how to sell fear. “They want to take away your guns!” and “They want to take your children away!” were their cries, while praising BLM’s protesters on one screen and promoting videos of the infinitesimal number of rioters on another.
The Atlantic speculated about widespread violence depending on the outcome, but I never believed these seemingly well-researched reports that have become commonplace in our clickbait-driven world. And as we saw, nothing of real concern happened; instead of violence, there were relatively small protests and dancing in the streets.
The gap that supposedly divides our nation is narrower than the doomsaying pundits, intellectuals, politicians, and cause leaders want you to believe. Why do they want you to believe this? Because promoting division and conflict sells, and grants a perverse glue that unites people within their tribal communities. Behind these labels of conflict are seeds of fear that can grow into irrational fears. Fears without reason, fears beyond facts. Sometimes these fears become things we hate — and our society and nation should have no place for hate, because it is an unproductive emotion without any possible positive outcome.
I’ve learned to ignore much of the headline-driven news and social media echo chambers where ridiculous ideas fester across our political spectrum. There are obviously ridiculous ideas, such as QAnon, but the subtly ridiculous ideas can be more dangerous and potentially even more destructive. These ideas can be diminished by simple questions to the average reasonable person.
One idea spawned in some progressive echo chambers was the notion that Trump would stage a coup d’état if Joe Biden won the election…