Slactivism: The problem with moral outrage on the internet

Why virtue signaling does nothing.

"A big problem with moral outrage on the Internet is that it leads people to think they’ve done something when in fact they haven’t done something," says author Alice Dreger. Sure, you might get a little rush out of updating your status to say something, but all you're really doing is virtue signaling. Alice's latest book is Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice.

Politics & Current Affairs

Crowd power: How online intensity wiped out traditional politics

Democrats are wondering how to beat Trump. The only way might be to play his game.

The election of Donald J. Trump surprised many, most of all the Democrats. Jeremy Heimans, a political activist and the Founder of the online media company Purpose, explains it simply: Donald Trump won the internet, and thus won the presidency. Heimans is a political activist and the Founder of the online media company Purpose, explains it simply: Donald Trump won the internet, and thus won the presidency. It's largely the same way the NRA stays in the public eye: through dominating the conversation. Trump and the NRA, for all their foibles, are both masters at what Heimans calls "New Power" — being able to seize the moment and keep people talking — and anyone attempting to beat him needs to become a master at it, too. Jeremy's new book is the highly recommended New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World-and How to Make It Work for You.

Politics & Current Affairs

What Does Your Level of Moral Outrage Tell Others About You?

Outraged by something on the internet? Yawn. You may be simply falling for a very old trick... and becoming a run-of-the-mill bully in the process.

Outrage on the internet is very, very easy to find. It seems that everyday someone has done something that other people can't stand and have to say something about (pro tip: this happened before the internet, too, it's just that there's a bigger audience for it thanks to social media). People dog pile on top of the person or thing they're outraged about, get worked up about it, and move on. But what does this constant anger actually say about us? Never before in human history has it been so easy to have an anonymous avatar to hide behind, and it's created a backwards and heightened version of outrage that neuroscientist Molly Crockett finds extremely interesting.

Mind & Brain

How Social Media Profits from Our Moral Emotions

You mad, bro? The way that Facebook (and Twitter) manipulates your brain should be the very thing that outrages us the most.

Social media has been, without a doubt, one of the biggest explosions in connectivity in human history. That's the good part. The bad part is that the minds of the people within these companies have manipulated users into an addictive cycle. You're already familiar with it: post content, receive rewards (likes, comments, etc). But the staggering of the rewards is the habit-forming part, and the reason most moderately heavy social media users check their apps or newsfeeds some 10-to-50 times a day. And to add to the problem — these algorithms have been strengthend to show you more and more outrageous content. It genuinely depletes your ability to be outraged by things in real life (for instance, a sexual predator for a President). Molly Crockett posits that we should all be aware of the dangers of these algorithms... and that we might have to start using them a lot less if we want to have a normal society back.

Technology & Innovation