While my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline wail and gnash their teeth over last night’s election results, I’m actually much more concerned about something else.
I feel we have entered into an age where truth no longer matters. We are in a post-truth world.
We are so compelled to believe the worst of one candidate and the best of another, that we are incapable and unwilling to entertain any critical thought.
We are more interested in what we believe rather than what is true.
Look at this tweet from last night:
150K retweets. But let’s take a step back and think about this for a minute. A majority of people have smart phones. So you’re telling me that a crowd was chanting this – and nobody got audio or video of this?
Let’s look at Simon’s profile. He describes himself as a “Freelance football writer and occasional political commentator” – from the UK. Look at his other tweets. Clearly, Simon was having some “fun” last night creating Tweets and watching them fly around. And yet, 150K people RTd this reflexively. And the narrative is perpetuated.
Look at this image that floated around Facebook the week of the election. How many people do you think fell for this? Did Clinton miss some votes based on people believing that online voting was legit?
This “Hillary Body Double” story/photo went viral as well. And yet, if you click on the source link, it takes you to a website that is designed to look like a “news” site but contains spelling and grammatical errors (not to mention loads of stories without sources).
This Tweet went viral this morning:
39k RTs when I got the screenshot. However, the Tweet that de-bunks this one has 17 RTs. Dramatic tweets are much more fun to share. Even if they’re false.
I’m not worried about the future of our nation based on the election results. I’m worried about the future of our nation because we are incapable and unwilling to check for facts, especially when they conveniently fit and affirm our already-held beliefs.
These false images and messages fill our online echo chambers where we typically chat and/or correspond with those who vote, feel and believe the way that we do. Not sure if echo chambers are an issue? Check out the New York Times or Washington Post today.
Until we start teaching media literacy in every classroom – every age – every day …..we will continue to have a nation much more interested in what we believe rather than what is true.