I just finished watching Don’t Look up: the film beautifully captures everything that frustrates me about social media.
The first principle of social media: people will follow people because they’re attractive or because they’ve found an echo chamber. Or both. The second principle: they’ll take the word of the people they follow over established expert professionals. In my “real world” job, I am an expert professional. And I find myself constantly at odds, trying to explain to lay people why the armchair experts they found on Tik Tok are incorrect, and that real science doesn’t support anything they’re saying. What the Tik Tok “experts” do say is what their followers are looking to hear. Even when it’s at their own detriment.
Social media loves to downplay the establishment, and traditional accepted expertise. Who do we blame for that? My guess is that when the news media was bought by major corporations, the agenda became a financial bottom line, and not truth and representation of the people. When the media stopped digging for real stories, and favored political agendas, people recognized it’s impotence on some level. So they sought out deeper truths on the Internet. But because there are no standards on the Internet, people seek out the things that the human mind has always sought: confirmation and affirmation. Confirmation Bias is a real, scientific principle, and it will keep people listening to the people who say what they want to hear, and who look like they want to look. Don’t Look Up portrays this beautifully. Great film, just expect to be angered and agitated by the (excellently acted) characters.