The new skill to master:
Learning NOT to respond to people who don’t deserve a platform.
Everyone talks about “fake news” – specifically trying to figure out what is legitimate and what isn’t. Another way to fight the possibility of misinformation is to just STOP responding to all of it in a knee jerk way. ALL. THE. TIME. Take a breath. Think. Verify. React, if need be.
Here’s the new skill you have to master: Just because you’ve read something outrageous on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else doesn’t mean you HAVE to respond to it. Maybe the new norm should be: if it sounds outrageous, makes your blood boil, or causes you to gasp, then you need to just assume it’s written to make you feel all those feelings and it should be considered an AUTO BOT until otherwise verified.
Another skill to develop is to do what reporters have done in the past: find three different legit sources before taking anything seriously and worthy of your precious time. Whenever I read something on social media, I look for three other sources to validate that information. And friends or other “friends of friends” don’t count as LEGIT sources! Even your smartest and best friends fall into this trap – especially those who tend to get all their news from Facebook. They never question what they read because it’s streaming on their newsfeed. Wow!
Find three legit sources that you KNOW are reputable. Whether it be print or television or online – but find three good SOLID sources who have a track record and bookmark them on your devices. That way, anytime you hear something stunning, you can check easily if this story has surfaced through legit sources. And “FACEBOOK” and “TWITTER” cannot BE your sources! These are platforms that deliver all types of information – ANY INFORMATION – they are NOT NEWS SOURCES!! Please understand the difference.
Stop wasting your time. Social media is a part of our lives. And it’s an incredible medium that provides such good and wonderful possibilities. But understanding what to react too, what to be bothered with, and how to use your time wisely, is another skill that we just have to learn. It’s a tough thing for sure – it’s hard to walk away from a headline or tweet that burns through your very core – but once you stop the knee jerk reaction to responding to everything – it gets easier to notice the obvious BOTS and nonsense stories.
And that’s another thing: this knee jerk reaction to everything needs to stop. When did everyone become so sensitive? When did everything become so damn important? And seriously, when did everyone become an expert at everything? We need to stop reacting emotionally to every story or thought and stop thinking we need to share it in 140 characters or less – not only is it a waste of our time, but 9 times out of 10, it’s also just not our place. I hate to be so cliché, but yes, everyone has an opinion and opinions are like assholes… or something like that. Simply, you can have an opinion, but sometimes its appropriate to keep it to yourself!
Let’s stop feeding into the very thing that is making the internet a very dangerous medium. Instead, let’s start teaching ourselves and our children to investigate, scrutinize, and develop critical thinking skills to use this amazing vehicle in the best way possible.
Let’s stop giving STUPID a platform.
6 thoughts on “Stop Giving Stupid A Platform”
Folks simply need to slow down and THINK when they read. Period. Too many likes, not enough commenting and thought involved – click link and move on. Easy, simple, but deciding our future is not a simple task – and sadly, we – you and I – cannot fix folks who don’t want to think. Have a great day, it’s Monday.
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I don’t do Twitter.
But I still do Dan Rather and appreciate the journalism he has provided the world since the early 1960s. He went underground in the 2000 years when one of his sources dried up and left him out to dry on George W Bush going AWOL while in the Reserves. CBS bowed to pressure from the GOP and failed to support Rather and he was forced to resign. (See the movie “Truth” starring Robert Redford as Rather.)
Rather hooked up with another news outlet. He appears occasionally on some television shows, including MSNBC and CNN. But he also writes like the old journalist he was raised to be in Texas, and his commentaries are full of facts and old fashioned wisdom.
He speaks truth to power and we need that in the world we live in today!
Michael J, former newspaper reporter
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I love Dan Rather as well. He’s amazing. And I agree that he has that old school journalistic writing technique — that involves things like grammar, full sentences and thorough reporting! Such a sad commentary on many “journalists” today. But he’s amazing! Truth to power….exactly what we need today! xo.
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Unfortunately – and as you already know – the people who “like” your post and comment positively on it (like me) isn’t the audience who really needs to read this. For them, everything will be urgent and immediate and everything will demand an over the top response.
End result: when the King in the South decides to do something truly outrageous, no one will have anywhere to go. ‘Cause we will ave already reached the extreme end of the spectrum of responses.
And the knee-jerk reactionaries will continue to blithely repeat every damned thing they hear/read/see. My responses thus far have been two-fold: the first time a friend repeats an outlandish claim without first checking on at least a couple of reputable news sites (and Snopes – which is my usual first go-to source), I’ll do the research and let them know they just posted some BS. Usually, they respond with embarrassment – which is how I determine whether they really just slipped up and likely won’t continue.
Those who either don’t respond or reply with a snark are those for whom I’ll just stop following (I think there’s an “ignore” option in Facebook). If I see them post one more outlandish thing, I’ll defriend them and immediately block them.
Even with that plan though, I still think I’m using too much energy with them.
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You are so right Wolfie! But I have to try. I am so tired of it — it’s annoying. And yes, I have blocked people, I have called people out on their crap — and clearly this may never end, but goodness Lord, we have to try. If anything to educate others. But yeah, you’re right: no one who actually reads this post is in need of hearing it most likely. But, you know, I still have faith in people. I imagine this is what the outbreak of Television was for our parents/elders. Not knowing how to use it as a tool and how to decipher between what was good and what is bad to watch. At least that’s what I’m hoping. At some point, this has to settle down a bit. It has too — or tainted elections are not the only consequences of FAKE NEWS. I fear it could be worse!
As always, hugs.
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