Technology will not protect us from human weakness–and can make it worse

“When we think about misinformation … we tend to focus on the presence of bad information — but really we should be focusing on the presence of doubt.” “A platform like YouTube or Facebook can claim to be building a “marketplace of ideas” by algorithmically presenting, say, a story about a new vaccine alongside a story claiming vaccines are dangerous. But what it is really…

See more

Is Facebook hazardous to our well-being?

Is use of Facebook (and other social media sites) a genuine hazard to our physical and mental health? Are the purported benefits of digital social media outweighed by the risks? Past research has found negatives and some positives. “Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen…

See more
Oscar Wilde quote

Revisiting: Understand the context of information important to you; reduce the fear and anxiety

Knowledge brings understanding; understanding reduces fear and anxiety.  Understand the value of the information that is important to your life; use that understanding to make your own decisions.  Do not let others make important decisions for you! To gain understanding, to reduce fear use these guidelines — Seek information, not affirmation: are you looking just to find people who agree with you?  Be honest with…

See more

Updated: Chatbots — propaganda is being taught how to speak

Bots–“simple computer scripts–were originally designed to automate repetitive tasks … sparing humans hours of tedium.”  But, bots “can also be used to operate large numbers of fake [social media] accounts, which makes them ideal for manipulating people.” As became evident after the 2016 election in the United States and from many other examples, not only do bot-operated fake social media accounts “broadcast extremist viewpoints,” but…

See more

Updated: A new world disorder?

It may seem like absolutely everyone today is glued to their phones and uses social media incessantly. Facebook, the largest social media network globally, claims “over 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020.” Billions do use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), but billions also do not. Further, there are many people counted as “active users” who simply are…

See more

Updated: Narcissism and social media–the connection

Since the early days of social media, researchers have looked at the relationship between narcissism and social media use.  Narcissism is a personality type “marked by a grandiose sense of self-importance, low communion with others, and feelings of entitlement.”  People with extreme forms of narcissism may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) which is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiose behaviors, excessive need…

See more