Unsocial media

I’ve been online writing a lot today and I made the mistake of checking in to NextDoor after months of ignoring it. Big mistake.

A year ago the site was burning up in Trump “patriots” vs liberal socialist posts and COVID-denier posts. Both were maddening so I quit reading or commenting.

Today the site is overrun with anti-vaxxers and a remnant of the Trumpists, those who still maintain that hydroxychloroquine is a COVID cure that is being blocked somehow in a huge conspiracy.

Hard to understand this, but here are some factors that I think come into play:

  • People in general, including me, have too much free time on their hands.
  • Most of the country is not strong in science, math and logic.
  • Confirmation bias keeps people reading the same propaganda over and over – beliefs, proven true or proven false, get reinforced.
  • There’s a lot of fear and helplessness out in the world, and it comes across as aggression.
  • We’ve never had a connected world in the way the Internet connects us, and we don’t have good checks and balances for what it does to us psychologically.
  • Assuming a constant rate of 0.5% purely bad people (a wild ass guess (WAG) estimate), with small populations that’s just a few bad eggs spread around. With 350 million people, that’s 1.75 million sociopaths, criminals, creeps and jerks. Social media gives them a place to shine.

These are all reasons to stay off social media. So goodbye again, NextDoor.

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