How social media polarizes politics

Contrary to what the title suggests, it is not a political post. It’s about human sociality and how social media turns it into violence and hate instead of discussion.

win
The above meme ironic, but very important. Socials are more focused on having the image of being right than actually being right. They aren’t arguing to help find the correct solution, but to make themselves look better. When they realize that it’s not going to happen because the position they happened to pick (based on heuristics or bias) is stupid, they just shut up and disappear.

The ability to disappear is also important if they did something political that turned out to be wrong. Besides explicit resistance fighters, the people under the rule of Hitler collaborated. Some more than others, but each and every one of them who didn’t fight back contributed to the war machine of the Nazis. After the war, it was just forgotten for the little guys, who soon after appeared as ordinary “good people” and tried best to fit in.

Social media make both of them impossible. If you supported evil politicians, if you believed in conspiracy theories, if you supported hateful and violent groups, it will be forever remembered because of the social media. Fifty years ago only leaders and top thinkers left behind books that allow us to know what they thought. Even five years ago only outspoken content creators left statements that will be there to mock later. Now the thoughts of everyone are recorded and put on display. Everyone will know that in 2016 you supported Hillary or BLM or believed in the Russia-Trump conspiracy. Imagine how embarrassing that will be when your grandkid finds it 50 years from now.

Which is exactly why people are getting uncompromising and violent. The only way to prevent being embarrassed by your past dumbness is to win and rewrite history. So instead of disappearing, when a social suspects that he was wrong, he doubles down and tries to silence the other side. With corporate censorship, protesting and finally violence. “They” must not win, because if they do, I’ll forever be shamed by my past comments.

Before you’d expect me to suggest some kind of censorship to social media or automatic deletion, I welcome this as a huge step against sociality. Today it’s a big problem, lot of blood will flow on the streets. But the next generation will be much less social because of it. They will grow up in a World where being wrong will be much less embarrassing. Someone who knows that his parents made hundreds of dumb comments back then, supporting people who are now in jail or remembered as mass murderers will find it obvious that he is wrong sometimes. Because we often are. We are seekers of truth, not owners of it.

Political PS: probably not as wrong as this reporter:
migrants

Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

11 thoughts on “How social media polarizes politics”

  1. You were asking why people disappear off the internet.
    Maybe, when someone has made its point and thinks he is right, he does not feel necessary to add more gibberish.
    I understand that you want to live in your country with similar people that know what to do and when to do it, because it is the right way to do it.
    I understand that this would be a wonderful world where everyone inserts himself in the game like clockwork.
    But that’s it? Is this the world you want to live in? What about your family, do they fit in your world? What about your friends?
    What is the goal of your life?

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  2. I think you vastly overestimate the general willingness of the average person to troll someone else’s history for historical nuggets of shame. Perhaps if they were in a particularly virulent feud, or if one of them was a celebrity/politician, perhaps. But until/unless the automation of the process is widespread – there are bots on Reddit that will auto-flag users if they have ever posted on certain subreddits – who has time for that nonsense? I can imagine some edge cases with certain employers performing routine Google searches, which might be a problem for a prospective employee who got photographed at a Neo Nazi rally, but that’s about it. Even then, it will depend on the company’s culture whether or not the given evidence is shameful. BLM posts won’t go over well in Police Academy applications, but it will be just fine for NGOs, ACLU, etc etc.

    Everyone will know that in 2016 you supported Hillary or BLM or believed in the Russia-Trump conspiracy. Imagine how embarrassing that will be when your grandkid finds it 50 years from now.

    Even if Trump completes his full term with no (further) disasters, even if Mueller finds nothing, even if Republicans sweep the tickets in 2018 and get super-majorities… what Democrat/Independent would be embarrassed by how they voted/who they supported in 2016? There was precisely one mainstream choice for a whole host of wedge issues, like abortion, health care, role of the government, etc. Those things were important then, and they still are, and will likely always be.

    Also, I think you vastly overestimate how interesting anyone would find their grandparent’s political opinions. I couldn’t care less about my living grandparents’ opinion today, on any subject, much less which side of Selma they were marching on 50 years ago. I mean, seriously, we’re talking 2066. If the Singularity or Nuclear Apocalypse or Runaway Climate Change hasn’t occurred yet, I’m pretty sure everyone will be too busy with their wirehead setups to care.

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  3. @Guldur: I want to live in a country with productive people who contribute to the society. We can argue and disagree HOW.

    I do not want to live with leeches who want welfare and definitely not with lunatics who claim that it’s somehow their right to get welfare from me.

    My goal is an advanced, progressed mankind that one day reaches other planets, have no illnesses and suffering. Guess what, BLM won’t help reach that, nor importing welfare leech hordes from third world countries.

    @Azuriel: you underestimate how much AI will improve. I guess in less than 5!!! years your smartphone will provide a short list of political positions, wealth, hobbies and all kind of stuff about total strangers, based on their posts after a facial recognition of a photo.

    Hitler was a mainstream candidate in 1933 Germany. Communists were the only candidates in 1970 Eastern Europe. It doesn’t mean that finding out that your parents/grandparents were involved is not embarrassing. See also: http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-comedienne-faces-grandpas-nazi-past/

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  4. So your goal is to reach the stars? And What will you seek when you get there, several dynasties ahead? Once humanity has conquered the universe (by all means, obviously), what else? Can’t you see that this quest is just a headlong rush to nothingness? Why can’t you just make the best of this life by helping people to reach their goals, whoever they are, and get recognition of what you did for them. This is going to be your legacy. Your way of thinking is leading humanity to being cells of a greater being that won’t care about you when it itches.

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  5. When I played WOW, I ended up in a family guild and grinded with a grampa and his grand sons who were about 7 years old. There was also a couple arguing about private frivolous matters. We were bad of course, and our instances were even worse. But I liked it. And I miss it. There was a meme we used to say : If the worst comes to the worst, we die. Good times. Then I started to learn how to play, won some pixels and lost track of them. The game became as the world you seek is : Dry and harsh. Who would like to live in a world of endless competition where we all end up being productive robots or outcasts ? The way I see it, the goal of life should be Insouciance.

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  6. @Gevlon

    Again, why would I care about random strangers’ opinions (present company excluded)? Social norms and basic business practices dictate acceptable behavior in dealing with strangers, and I cannot imagine waving my smartphone in their face would possibly improve anything. For the most part, I would rather not know. If they started yelling or making a scene, maybe. Maybe. But even if it was a Neo Nazi making a scene in the place of my business, standard deescalation techniques would be most prudent, none of which involve getting in a shouting match.

    What we might see is more self-segregation, in terms of businesses and the like. If you can get an app that filters out all the local businesses who supported things you don’t like, that might be enough for a soft boycott. But really, that would just lead to businesses not putting their noses in politics, which is largely the way it should be to begin with.

    As for the link you provided… okay? Here is a link stating that the comedian’s father was the Jewish one, and it was her maternal grandfather that was the “Nazi.” And by “Nazi,” it means he was drafted into the army, assigned a low station, and was eventually captured by US soldiers and shipped to Iowa. Or Montana. Or somewhere. When I tried to find a clip of the TLC episode for more primary source info, all I got was two Youtube videos of conservatives laughing about the story. Their hard-hitting point was was Chelsea accuses people of being a Nazi, but her grandfather was a Nazi. Which… means what? Who believes the sins of the (grand)father passes to the son? While a shocking and emotional revelation for her, and an ironic chuckle from everyone else, I don’t see where it undermines any part of a potential argument from her that X person or Y policy is Nazi-esque. “Your grandpa is a Nazi!” “So what? So are you.”

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  7. @Guldur: you could afford to be bad in a video game because it’s a video game.
    In real life you must get food, shelter, clothing and health care or you die. Someone must provide these. If no one can, we all die. So you either support “we all die” or “some people (slaves) must provide for everyone else”

    @Azuriel: the point isn’t Chelsea, it’s the Grandpa. Imagine if Grandpa was alive. What would happen to their relationship? What would happen to his friends and neighbors learning that he probably killed people in the name of Hitler (because even “low station” soldiers did that). Grandpa was exposed because of Chelsea being famous. Today’s generation will be ALL exposed. Your neighbor will know what you wrote on this blog 50 years from now, assuming he has some free time and gossipy nature.

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  8. people learn. from birth till death. If they do fail hard than they are the ones with the most potential and chance to learn the most from it.
    that is why pain is the only true reality and suffering will never be gone. it is the very thing that drives us out of bed in the morning and doing shitty work for shitty pay … because not doing that will be worse and more suffering.

    remember for utopia/paradise some percentage of people have to die always. there is no paradise without a snake, even god fails at this.

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  9. @Guldur

    “The way I see it, the goal of life should be Insouciance.”

    You must live a very sheltered life. Either that, or your ambitions are summed up to “wake up, play video games all day”. If everyone was insouciant the human species would have died out ages ago.

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  10. @Tithian

    <>

    Life is what we make of it … together. I’m at work right now, coding stuff, looking at 4 cats doing nothing else than nothing (deja vu): This is life. Struggling to be the first one in every step of your life is just wasting it. Look around. This morning I saw a huge Tilia tree spreading its seeds all over and I thought: This tree won the game, but he is not going to have any child, because of us. Struggling is loosing. Insouciance is the goal, but we are not quite there yet. Just take care, I’ll do my part.

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