How Social Media is Crippling Democracy, and Why We Seem Powerless to Stop It

How Social Media is Crippling Democracy, and Why We Seem Powerless to Stop It
January 19 14:26 2017 Print This Article

(ZD NET) – So, how is everyone’s anxiety doing? Are all our coping mechanisms firing on all cylinders? Are we all being mindful and living in the present moment? Great. Because we’re all going to need to be experts on it, for at least the next four years or even longer.  By Jason Perlow

A few years ago I wrote about a phenomenon I called “Technology Augmented Autism.” I argued that our over-reliance on social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter has amplified the existing personality characteristics of persons who already reside on the autism spectrum, including ADD/ADHD and other socially developmental related issues, such as Asperger’s.

Because so many of us that “are on the spectrum” work in technology, and so many of us use these tools for business and not just for recreational purposes, we all have to work extra hard to hone our “soft” skills, as all of these tools are not particularly helpful in developing our interpersonal relationships and how we interact with people in the real world.

The more disconnected from face-to-face relationships we become, the more our soft skills atrophy. And these tools not only make the soft skills deteriorate but they also reinforce bad habits and amplify our negative personality traits.

We all know someone whose personality traits are amplified in this way.

These tools can do much more than alter and distort the way we perceive our relationships with others and how others perceive us. These tools can alter our very sense of reality.

How we perceive communications from public sources and so-called news outlets is very different in the age of social media than from previous decades.

Mixed in with traditional news outlets, whether they lean to the right or the left — such as the legacy broadcasters and newspapers — is an entire class of publication that does not respect the mores of traditional journalism and that have a distinct and politically skewed agenda. Breitbart, for example, operates in this category.

Or they may be looking simply to generate page views through flat-out prevarication and inflammatory exaggerations. In other words, fake news.

There are other sites that straddle the line between entertainment/media snacking and real journalism — such as Buzzfeed. Some of the material is valuable, highly informative, well-researched and peer reviewed by investigative journalists who have come from legacy media backgrounds.

Sometimes they respect the mores of traditional journalism and sometimes they don’t. You have to accept this at face value.

This graphic, which went viral on the image sharing site imgur during December of last year, was submitted by an anonymous user. While some of the quadrant placements here are certainly up for debate and by all means not all-inclusive (Buzzfeed for example is not placed here, as well as a number of other voices in conservative, moderate and liberal new media and alternative press) it is not a bad starting point for discussion.

See the full article and additional images HERE