Strange as it seems, social media is a relatively new phenomenon. We’re beginning to learn how to incorporate it into our lives to ensure our interactions with it are healthy.
I remember setting up the account for the first time. It was still an ‘invite only’ platform and I don’t think I felt really comfortable with any of the people I could see on the platform inviting me aboard. But I asked, and was accepted and finally got to see what all my high school alums were up to.
It was exciting for a moment, and then I started hearing the first complaints about this new environment: “I don’t care what you had for lunch!”, people would exclaim after having to scroll past another exciting menu item. And I had ‘real-life’ friends who would brag about how they didn’t have Facebook. It was as if they were too hoity-toity to interact with the masses.
I don’t know, I guess I enjoy seeing food, family, or vacation photos. And I truly wish I could find all my friends from junior and high school. I’d just like to know that they’re all doing well.
But, we complain. Just like the email chains about syringes in gas pumps, gangsters driving around with their lights off, and people eating eight spiders a night-Facebook starting having its problems. The major one, of course, is the idea that Russians were sowing dissent by publishing fake news to the platform. Before you knew it, if you were to listen to the media, we were a bunch of dead-eyed zombies believing every story that made it to our timeline.
And I know, we all have that uncle. He posts silly things about the Illuminati lizard people selling pizza all the time. But did that story in your feed change your life? Did you believe it?
I remember buying a tabloid when I was a fourth-grader. The stories in it were amazing. It confirmed my belief that Michael Jackson’s sequined glove was magical, and there was this Bat Boy the government was hiding from me. When I showed my mom, she introduced me to the concept of ‘bullshit’. I couldn’t believe it! It was printed on newsprint-this had to be true!
I’m not suggesting that nobody fell for the bullshit on Facebook, but to believe that everybody, the majority, or even any normal adults believed, and acted on the information on their Facebook feed is a stretch. It’s too easy to fact-check nowadays, and most bullshit gives off a strong scent.
If you didn’t have a radical political change of course due to your Facebook feed, neither did most of your friends. Sure, misinformation is a danger, but it’s got to be believed for it to work. Out of the hundreds or thousands (lucky!) friends you have, it was just your oddball uncle who shared the lizard-person story. Just give him a fact-check, consider blocking him and check out my picture of chilaquiles!