How to Remain Sane in the Age of Disinformation
Hint: Take Social Media Breaks, Trolls are paid to trigger you, and NEVER read the comments
No doubt, many Americans experienced the highest of high hopes after the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd and consequently the lowest of lows when Ma'Kiha Bryant was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. After a tough day/week/year, I had to put my phone down before going to bed and collect my breath because the conversations and images on social media was triggering my anxiety.
Starting this blog, I've had the opportunity to research some of the marketing techniques that are employed by small businesses, large companies and WHOLE COUNTRIES. What I learned is (1)Mark Zuckerberg changed the game in a huge way with Facebook/FB ads and (2)where there is an opportunity for humans to manipulate each other for power and control (and money), they probably will.
Russia apparently has been focused on racial injustice in America; but not to fix anything...to break US. They and other countries realize that our greatest asset, could also be our greatest downfall. Diversity.
Russian trolls actually targeted black voters in 2016, to discourage them from voting. "Thousands of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and You Tube accounts created by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) were aimed at harming Hillary Clinton's campaign and supporting Donald Trump, the committee concludes. More than 66% of Facebook adverts posted by the Russian troll farm contained a term related to race."
On Wikipedia, topic: Russia and Black Lives Matter, it states, "In the late 2010s, researchers found that increases in Russian disinformation activity on Twitter was correlated with increases in polarizing conversations regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. One such activity included Russian accounts mimicking Black Lives Matter activists, or supported issues central to the Black Lives Matter cause."
So, it seems that the more people yelled "Black Lives Matter" and the opposition here got angry, perhaps it was because of RUSSIA and their interference on social media--not the Black Americans who were fearing for their lives due to the violent images of police brutality coming across their phones.
What worries me, is that a large majority of us don't realize what's happening. We are pawns in the game, when we need to be able to step back and see the board. Russia is definitely not the only country to employ troll farms. I'm sure the US does its fair share of misinformation campaigns too...even domestic ones like Turning Point USA. As a populace, we are all just consuming and reacting. It never fails...go and click a controversial article (i.e. about race) and just look at all the nonempathetic rants of people saying JUST the right thing to make all the comments appear underneath them. CHA-CHING!!! The more outrageous the comment, the more interaction and money they make.
The Pew Research Center says that 86% of Americans get their news from their smartphone. But where? Who is a trusted news source and by whom? Reuters will be charging $34.99/mo. to get news and NYT and others are already behind a pay wall. Will the average American pay for accurate news reporting, or will they parrot "MSM is corrupt!" and get their news from some fringe, polarizing character with a clip/soundbite on IG or FB.....oh, man, I hope we all continue to seek and value truth...because I don't want to see a world like what we've been seeing for the last few years.
In conclusion--we all just need to take a break from the collective trauma. We are more connected than ever before by devices and the internet, which is both a gift and a curse. We take on the trauma of others by vicariously experiencing it, mostly if we can see ourselves in their position. The human body can only take so much before there are trauma responses. So, go dark. Take long walks. Get to know someone who is from a different background than you are. It's so enriching. Get to know a neighbor that could be the same as you--but you never reached out to. Try a new hobby. Write a blog! Hey!
Feel free to share your thoughts with me...This was a ramble, like the rambling emotions/feelings/thoughts in my head from the past year. May catharsis heal us all.