We live in a time of great change and vast improvements. We can communicate with one another, in ways never thought of before, and we also have many platforms via social media to find things that affirm or test our opinions and trail of thought.
However, one can’t help but notice the effect these social media platforms have on us and our search for an objective truth.
A good example of this is the ever popular Youtube. Back when it was first released, the type of data it ran on was basic, compared to now. Simply put, if you watched a cooking video, the next suggestion would have no bearing on what you previously watched. The same would go for if you watched a particular debate. The next video suggestion would have almost nothing to do with what you saw beforehand.
What this does is essentially create an online bubble, where you are the centre of it all.
Fast forward to today, and what you have are subjective suggestions that cater to you and your trail of thought. Of course for the individual, this feels like a rather good thing – which saves you the hassle of picking out your desired content. However on a larger scale, what this does is essentially create an online bubble, where you are the centre of it all.
We’ve not only become a post-fact people, but a post truth-people also. Not because the truth doesn’t exist, but because we’ve made the truth our own.
The problem with this, is that it gives us a false sense of objective truth. Because these many social media platforms cater to your mindset, we’re led to believe that the content must indeed be true. However when a diverging view is encountered, we feel threatened and lash out with online abuse – as though our world has come crashing down. Try searching for reasons why gay marriage is a good thing, and you’ll find hundreds of sources that back-up your view. Equally – search for reasons why gay marriage is a bad thing, and you’ll find sources to affirm your opinion. Of course your opinion has now become a fact – because you searched the web to find people who think like you do. So how do you respond to others who critique your view? That’s right… bring out the keyboard and let the insults begin!
We call each other stupid and degrade one another, just for someone offering a different opinion. We react like predictable children – rarely offering room to absorb someone else’s point of view.
Essentially – we’ve not only become a post-fact people, but a post truth-people also. Not because the truth doesn’t exist, but because we’ve made the truth our own. It’s “My” truth, not “our” truth. Then again, perhaps we’ve always been this way inside, and social media is merely reflecting on how we operate? Nevertheless, I am quite intrigued (and slightly worried) as to where this will lead us, as a society in the future.
“Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay homage to the Truth or die.” – Swami Vivekananda