As I equip my keyboard to write about keyboard warriors, I am fully aware of the irony. I will try to avoid flashing my sword and type clearly on the subject, but no promises. Let’s explore the fascinating world of the keyboard warrior.
Outrage is in fashion. People take to their keyboards to express their rage, and the media caters to their thirst. Most of the content we see is filled with emotional pleas and calls to action.
Facebook’s Emotional Manipulation
Hootsuite, a popular social media marketing tool, has this to say about the Facebook algorithm.
For the last few years the algorithm has weighed reaction buttons more heavily than a simple Like. So target emotional reactions in your posts: love, caring, laughter, sadness, anger.
Facebook Inc. is literally playing with our emotions for cash. It is not a lighthearted tool meant to connect people; it’s a money machine that serves Mark Zuckerberg and friends. I’m sure it was meant to connect people at some point, but going public on the stock exchange changed all that. Every experience you have on Facebook has one purpose. To keep you on their platform as long as possible, so you click more advertisements. The more ads you click, the more money they make, and that’s the name of the game. If manipulating or censoring you helps meet that end, so will their executive decisions go. Like most systems, if you want to understand it, follow the money.
YouTube Hate Machine
YouTube has been a source of negative comments since its inception. Things haven’t changed much, and there’s more rage now than ever. The comment sections are filled with people slinging insults and being horrible all-around. Yes, it’s not all negative, but popular content often is.
YouTube is a great platform for hate-peddling content creators. It’s full of characters with a collection of outrageous topics with little to no basis in facts. Fake news is used to sway your opinion against anyone these content creators disagree with. It has been weaponized to win the culture wars raging on throughout the Intertubes.
Twitter is a dreamy tool for those that delight in sparking outrage. Twitter is a literal hate machine, and with its focus on politics, is one of the most toxic outrage generators.
The algorithms Twitter employs reward divisive behavior for content creators. Expect to get a cookie if you’re posting about how so and so is a complete bastard. It’s like someone wanted to make the botulinum toxic hold their beer when they wrote the Twitter algorithm.
LinkedIn is mostly professional, but that seems to be changing. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve seen more political content on my feed than in the past. I don’t engage with political content, but it’s still feeding me the rage. A wildfire of outrage is burning out of control, and the fire department hasn’t been alerted.
Way back in the 90s, when the Internet was young, my fellow netizens quickly learned a few principles that improved the quality of our Internet experience.
- Don’t feed the trolls
- Don’t argue on the Internet
Fast-forward to 2021, and the biggest troll in existence ever created has millions of people feeding him. Alongside the troll situation, people argue why the left or the right is wrong at breakneck speeds. It seems that every day is filled with another trending topic about who’s wrong about something.
Digging out of the sinkhole of madness we’ve created for ourselves will require potent paradigm shifts. As with most paradigm shifts, the guide we use to navigate this world will change rapidly. I believe we will find a way to redirect our energy towards a more productive direction. However, we will see more lemmings fall into the sinkhole, never to be found again.
I predict that new forms of communication will sprout up to replace the toxic ones. During the early days of the Internet, Internet Relay Chat ( IRC ) was the premier communication tool. It allows people to create moderated channels that help enable civil discussions. Like any tool, it was misused by blackhat hackers and troublemakers. Overall though, if people are bought into having civil discussions, it is a highly effective tool. I don’t believe that IRC will make a comeback, but new decentralized tools will eventually overtake the corporate casinos that we call social media. It’s inevitable.
I’ve been considering the idea of creating a digital town hall. A tool that would help us save the republic by bringing back civil and constructive discourse to our society. It would help us patiently work back to the point of clarity of mind and help us resolve long-standing philosophical differences. Posting cat videos on TikTok all day surely won’t help us fill that sinkhole.
I hope the day fairs well for you; here’s hoping the dawn is darkest before the day.