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Because of its scale and speed, social media is the great amplifier of collective illusions. The greatest strength of social media is its facilitation of diverse voices, but at the same time, it can be akin to a funhouse of mirrors.
The reason for that, is because most of us assume that we are interacting with a representative sample of the population. But we’re not. Close to 80% of all content on social media is created by only 10% of its users. Quickly, social media becomes a place for people who can shout the loudest and silence the opposition.
And that has dire consequences. As Todd Rose says, “your willingness to conform and your unwillingness to challenge what you think the group believes will actually contribute to leading the group astray.”
Is there any hope? Rose believes one solution is to get off line once in a while. But another solution is to speak up. What would happen if the silent majority emerged and our social channels more accurately reflected how most of us really felt? This could be a step forward in embracing the potential strength of social media, encouraging productive conversations across diverse perspectives.
Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/collective-illusions/social-media/
Collective Illusions is a 9-part series brought to you by Stand Together: a community of changemakers tackling our biggest challenges
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About Todd Rose:
Todd Rose is the co-founder and president of Populace, a think tank committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives in a thriving society. Prior to Populace, he was a faculty member at Harvard University where he founded the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality and directed the Mind, Brain, and Education program. Todd is the best selling author of Collective Illusions, Dark Horse, and The End of Average. He lives in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Read more of our stories on social media:
The problem with social media is not content but its distortion of reality
Outrage! Our minds and morals did not evolve to cope with social media
Here’s exactly how social media algorithms can manipulate you
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