Social Media is Discouraging Critical Thinking
And one 'well-done' thread is calling it out
The art of packaging big truths in few words is rare, but important in a world where many if not most current issue discussions are taking place online. If your thread or post is too long, many won’t read it. If it is too short, it is unlikely to include the information necessary to prevent misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and trolls.
One Twitter account has done well with condensing large concepts into few words. That account also happens to be a sheet of frozen meat.
Even when thoughts or concepts can be summed up in short form, they are still assuming a certain level of competence in the subject matter. They are presupposing foundational understanding on whatever the subject matter may be. But in the current age where 2+2 does not necessarily equal 4, presuppositions are argued to death and big concepts are dismissed with scoffing.
Also, as opposed to discussions in person where you have an idea of the audience to which you are speaking, on the internet you get commentary from people of all walks, education, and bias. Don’t get me wrong, alternative opinions and thoughts are welcome and indeed important in furthering discussion; we shouldn’t expect much progress to take place in an echo chamber. I think this just hints at another major disadvantage of the online arena: lack of presence.
Communication is more than text.
When we speak in person, we are (usually) more able to clearly communicate to others, and can more easily discern from the audience whether there is understanding or comprehension of the subject matter.
When interacting virtually, however, we get far more ‘confirmation bias’ responses. These responses often ignore follow-up questions and post, reply, or retweet their commentary based on their perception of what was communicated.
I am sure we can all see that this is happening. We are all both sides of the coin after all. I admit to making snap judgments before gaining authors’ intent or even examining my own bias. I am much better today than I was yesterday at patiently parsing and examining what I read; working to understand context and intent before viewing through the lens of my own experience and understanding.
Twitter is not real life.
This means of communication is unnatural. It is a substitute that has become the norm. It seems we made a habit of forgetting or at least ignoring the value of in-person discourse. The last 20 months of ‘social distancing’, face coverings, lock-downs, and division have certainly done much harm to the higher quality interchange of in-person communication. The near loss of it has caused us to behave even worse behind our avatars online.
I personally believe we are well past the time to put fear and division behind us and gather together again. Despite all our differences, we are at our best when we are respecting one another’s thoughts and opinions, as well as being humble enough to consider and measure them against our own.
I have long considered the effects social media has on social interaction. Thanks for the inspiration to put something out there you beef sheet company-sponsored social media advertising guy.