If you’re looking for the translated full presentation that I gave, titled “The Dark Side of Democratization,” please click here.
As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
No one can dispute the power that a democratized internet affords everyday people like you and me. After all, anyone can start a website and publish their thoughts today. Anyone can post on social media and be heard. The mission of WordPress itself is to democratize publishing — to give everyone a voice on the internet. That’s awesome stuff.
At the same time, I realize now that this power can also be misused, whether intentionally or unintentionally. From the polarization of politics to the spread of radicalism, all of these can be attributed in some way to the ease with which anyone can find a voice on the internet today.
This was the impetus for the following presentation …
It’s adapted from the aforementioned workshop. Given the divisiveness that we’ve seen in our country, and the extremism now spreading all over the world, I figured the message is worth sharing with a greater audience. Yeah yeah, it’s kind of long (it was a two-hour workshop, after all), but I do believe there are important lessons within that we all need to be aware of. Please have a look, and please feel free to share this page if the lessons resonate with you. The embedded presentation is fully annotated:
Here is an outline of the presentation:
“The Dark Side of Democratization”
- Fueled By Emotions
- What Makes Online Content Go Viral?
- Social Media Shaming and Internet Justice
- Second-Hand Outrage
- Manipulation and Outright Lies
- Misinformation Persists
- Shallow Browsing
- The Spread of Scientific Misinformation
- Combating Misinformation
- Online Echo Chambers
- Minority Rules
- The 1% Rule
- Connecting Extremists
- To Silence or Not to Silence
Here are the citations from the presentation:
Awan, Akil N. (2006), “Virtual jihadist media: Function, legitimacy and radicalizing efficacy,” European Journal of Cultural Studies.
Belam, Martin (2012), “The Guardian publishes stats on the size of their commenting community,” currybet.net.
Berger, Jonah; Milkman, Katherine L. (2011), “What Makes Online Content Go Viral?,” Journal of Marketing Research.
BuzzSumo (2014), “Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us”.
Carr, Nicholas (2008), The Shallows.
Chan, Liberte (2016), “Personal Thoughts on the LBD/Sweater Moment that Went Viral,” Life of Liberte.
Del Vicarioa, Michela; Bessib, Alessandro; Zolloa, Fabiana; Petronic, Fabio; Scala, Antonio; Caldarellia, Guido; Stanleye, H. Eugene; Quattrociocchia, Walter (2016), “The spreading of misinformation online,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Friesen, Justin; Campbell, Troy; Kay, Aaron (2015), “The psychological advantage of unfalsifiability: The appeal of untestable religious and political ideologies,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Greenfield, Patricia (2009), “Technology and Informal Education: What Is Taught, What Is Learned,” Science.
Hornea, Zachary; Powell, Derek; Hummela, John E.; Holyoakb, Keith J. (2015), “Countering antivaccination attitudes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Krahulik, Mike; Holkins, Jerry (2004), “John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory,” Penny Arcade.
Lewandowsky, Stephan; Ecker, Ullrich; Seifert, Colleen; Schwarz, Norbert; Cook, John (2012), “Misinformation and its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
Manjoo, Farhad (2013), “You Won’t Finish This Article,” Slate.
National Public Radio (2014), “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?”
Noelle-Neumann, Elisabeth (1974), “The Spiral of Silence.”
Nyhan, Brendan; Reifler, Jason (2010), “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions,” Political Behavior.
Nyhan, Brendan; Reifler, Jason; Richey, Sean; Freed, Gary L. (2014), “Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial,” Pediatrics.
Pew Research Center (2014), “Political Polarization & Media Habits.”
Politi, Daniel (2016), “Reporter Is Forced to Put on Sweater Live on Air to Cover Up ‘Revealing’ Dress,” Slate.
Quattrociocchi, Walter (2016), World Economic Forum.
Ronson, Jon (2015), “When online shaming spirals out of control,” TED.
Suler, John (2004), “The online disinhibition effect,” Cyberpsychology & Behavior.
Stevens, David; O’Hara, Kieron (2015), The Devil’s Long Tail.
Uhls, Yalda T., et al (2014), “Five days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues,” Computers in Human Behavior.
Van Mierlo, Trevor (2014), “The 1% Rule in Four Digital Health Social Networks: An Observational Study,” Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Here are the two videos mentioned in the presentation: