I am not a religious person. I would consider myself “Agnostic” if I had to put myself in a category. However, for the sake of my narrative, let’s assume that the biblical version of God and the Devil exists. People tend to personify things, so God and the Devil are often portrayed as these physical beings with two arms, two legs and maybe two horns if you’re feelin’ artsy. However, if you are a person of faith, I would like to propose that the Devil is manifesting himself/herself/itself in a form that is much less conventional than you might think.
It is wild to me that people can no longer be rational humans. The ability to think for oneself has ironically decreased since the access to information has increased. Only 20 years ago, if you wanted to know something, you physically had to go out of your way to learn the information; But now everything is at your fingertips. As technology advances, we as humans now use our brains less than ever. While that sounds great, I personally and wholeheartedly believe that the adverse effects greatly outweigh the benefits. Instead of opening up a book and exploring subjects in great detail, people are content with simply reading headlines.
According to multiple research studies, it is estimated that approximately 60-70% of people click ‘share’ on Facebook without ever clicking on the link to the article or video. Most people are probably skimming over this sentence as we speak. Therefore, if a headline simply matches their belief, they will share it without even thinking about the consequences or repercussions of the false narrative they may be spreading. Now, I can see how this might not be the end of the world and I’m sure you probably think I should be wearing a tinfoil hat, but there is a deeper threat than people even realize.
Oh yeah, the Devil analogy. Basically, I am saying that Facebook is comparable to the Devil. That may seem slightly hyperbolic, but Facebook totally sucks. It is a catalyst for the spread of negativity and I will explain why I am comparing a social media platform to a theological dude that lives in a fiery Hell (I didn’t read the book, but I heard it’s popular).
People see a headline and share it without even bothering to explore the validity. And we all know Facebook loves to gather information on you. I was literally talking to my friend about kayaks the other day, and he showed me a picture of one on his phone, and the next day, I was getting ads for ‘yaks for the first time in my life. It’s a known fact that Facebook listens to your conversations, yet no one seems to really care about that, but that’s a topic for another day. Espionage is not the only way it gathers information, too. It also tracks what you share, like, and who you interact with. It processes that information and your feed is then personalized to show the things you have interests in. You ever wonder why you have hundreds of friends on Facebook but you only see the same 10-15 people on your feed?
Now that seems cool at first glance, but what this actually does is create a bubble of like-minded people. You no longer see a bunch of different viewpoints and you only see the ones that you personally believe in (for the most part). So everyday, when you open up Facebook, your beliefs are constantly being reinforced, making it appear that everyone around you thinks the same way that you do. It is completely sheltering you from opposing thoughts and ideas. If you see opposing thoughts on your feed, it’s more likely than not due to the fact that someone with similar thoughts as yourself has commented on that post. This has caused severe problems in how we interact with the world, because when you only see your viewpoint everyday, you start to think that everything else is incorrect, when that very well may not be the case. It builds this unnecessary desire to defend your point of view; which are just thoughts that have been spoon fed to you by the Facebook bubble that you live in.
It fosters this hostile environment, one in which would not exist if you weren’t hiding behind a keyboard, interacting with “friends” that you have never even talked to in real life. You get more ballsy and start to say things to people that you wouldn’t say if you were face to face. It creates an online world that does not represent what is actually going on in the physical world. Everything is amplified. People start attacking grouped viewpoints instead of addressing individual issues. You no longer are forming your own opinions and you are simply using information gathered by your group without realizing that you’re lumping together multifactorial arguments. People start using “blanket statements.” I am literally doing it right now as I say “you,” assuming that every person reading this right now doesn’t agree with me.
Wanna know who fucking loves this? Politically biased news stations. Or as I like to call them… news stations. They will write headlines that don’t match the narrative of what actually happened in real life, feeding off of an already flawed Two Party System. They know that if they write, “Donald Trump says [insert literally anything here, good or bad],” then these groups of like-minded people will start to share it all over facebook and it will generate revenue. As long as the headline matches a specific point of view, it doesn’t matter what actually happened in real life. The mindset is just to get more ammunition, in the form of shares, to defeat the other “team.”
Wanna know who that helps? Absolutely no one except yourself. Your shares are not changing people’s mind and your shares are not solving real world problems. People are being pushed farther and farther apart every single day, when if you simply look at individual issues, I am confident that more people will agree on things rather than oppose them. People would much rather bash someone’s character, instead of research a contrasting point of view to see where they are coming from. And even worse, many people will bash other people’s character before they even research THEIR OWN point of view. This negative behavior is reinforced by the people in their bubble, so it seems acceptable.
Arguing in groups pushes people away rather than bringing people together to find commonalities and solutions. If we continue down this same path, a collapse in our country will inevitably happen. I genuinely believe that the world is a much better place than Facebook portrays it to be. If you just close your laptop and have coffee (and/or a beer) with someone who has different views than you, the hostility would not match what is being displayed on Facebook.
Now I am not saying that problems DON’T exist in the physical world, because they do, and it would be ignorant to neglect that. What I am saying is that the media and Facebook are designed to silence positive news and amplify negativity, making it appear that the world we are living in is burning to the ground. Instead of sharing news based on the headlines, people need to take the time to research opposing arguments instead of “canceling” them so quickly. Deleting someone off of Facebook because you disagree with them only shrinks the bubble that your internet persona lives in. Instead of calling someone racist, educate them on your personal experiences. And instead of saying All Lives Matter, just like… literally say anything else. Too many people are fixated on riling up other groups instead of looking in the mirror and addressing their own flaws.
There are people out there who are in the 1%, smoke marijuana, voted for Trump, believe that women should have the right to choose what they do with their body, want border security, and support the Black Lives Matter movement. You can’t just take one of those things and assume the rest of their beliefs based on the actions of group behavior. Good groups can be brought down by the actions of very few of its members… that’s why there are so many memes about how group projects suck. Sometimes people in a group differ in skills, ideas, faith, race, gender, and values. Lumping multifactorial things together only splits this country further apart and we never realize most of us are standing on common ground.
Facebook grouped us together, reinforced our beliefs with misleading headlines, and made us believe the world is worse than it actually is. The media, perpetuated by Facebook, has valued monetary gain over bringing people together to solve legitimate problems, causing us to lose sight of all the good that is going on behind our computer screens. 95% of Facebook consists of fighting, when it should be about sharing dumb memes, pictures of puppies, and supporting the actions of people who do good in this world. I don’t know about you, but to me, that kind of sounds like the actions of… idk… the Devil.