Truth is What Gets the Most Likes and Retweets

You could argue that with social media, the truth is now what we all agree it is.

You could argue that with social media, the truth is now what we all agree it is.  Whatever gets the most likes or whatever seems to get the most user reviews that say "I agree" suddenly becomes accepted wisdom or accepted expertise.  


And there’s probably a certain amount of skepticism around the traditional experts, around the traditional gatekeepers, that is warranted, especially in traditional media.  You sed to put out a press release and hope that the gatekeeper found your product or your story worthwhile.  Now it’s the end consumer that decides that this product, this movie review or your views on social media or on architecture or lighting are worth sharing.  

Now, there’s been some blow back.  There’s a general feeling that among blogs, some of it isn’t as well researched, is not as thoughtful and there isn’t as much fact-checking going on.  And I think there’s a decent amount of validity to that.  There seems to be a healthy tension.  Some of the truly outstanding brands -- The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, take tremendous pride in the fact-checking and the credibility behind everything they write.  There’s absolutely a market for that.  

There also seems to be a market for just bright people who are willing to share their opinions and do it at a very low cost.  So one is not going to supplant the other, but you didn’t have this before.  And it's changing the ecosystem.  

So, what is credibility?  To a certain extent, it’s being reshaped around what we as a general population find it to be. And we’re losing faith and taking power away from the tastemakers, if you will, or the traditional arbiters of credibility, be they a talking head on a Sunday morning show or the Business Editor at The Wall Street Journal.  Consumers are saying, "I don’t necessarily need that person to take my message forward and find out if the general population finds me and/or my message credible."

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

Sponsored
  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.