Social Media 101


Social Media 101

This should be required reading before signing up for any social media service. I guess most of us are at least somewhat aware of it, but it helps to repeat it once in a while:

Since the article is kind of long, here is a short summary:

Basics of fake news / disinformation:

  1. The number of people who believe an idea is directly proportional to the number of times it has been repeated — even if the idea is false.
  2. Thus, each time you interact with a bad idea (e.g. by commenting on it or clicking “like” or any of the other reactions), you are only feeding the very monster you are trying to destroy. Hell for the ideas you deplore is silence. Have the discipline to give it to them.
  3. Spend all your time feeding good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.

Basics of changing peoples’ minds:

  1. We don’t always believe things because they are correct. Most of the time we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about. We might call this approach “factually false, but socially accurate.”
  2. Thus, convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. So the way to change people’s minds is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your tribe.
  3. Also, the people whose minds you are most likely to change are those who are already within your own friend circle.

Fundamentally, social media is about finding and strengthening your tribe. It can be used for spreading good information, but by its very nature, it can’t do that very well. So it’s best not to assume that.