The Wrongness of Social Media

This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. Which is of course not too bad, but a rather reasonable hour to most. Perhaps a wee bit earlyit certainly is early for yours trulybut all in all nothing to make a fuss about. That is before you take into account that the last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep, it was well after 4 a.m. That quickly sets the stage for a more than usual grumpy swede.

With my grumpy glasses on, I had a little gander at twitter. I often do this in the morning, looking through international news stories that happened during the night, as well as tweets posted by those unfortunate enough to be living in strange time zones. And that was when it hit me. People are remarkably often wrong. To be honest, it was hardly the first time it hit me, but usually it is simply noticed, followed by some silent judgement, and then quickly forgotten. This time, to everyone’s immense joy, I decided to ramble on about it in this here blog post.

This would probably be the time to clarify that I am not talking about the spreading of fake news and the such, nor am I lamenting over typos and poor grammar. I am sure all that has been lambasted quite enough without my help. No, I am talking about the small, often inconsequential, things. Like the other day I saw someone on twitter talking about why they had chosen a specific name for the main character in their story. But the problem was that what they thought the name meant, was not at all what etymology sites stated as the name’s meaning. And today someone completely butchered the meaning of a common phrase, and a whole bunch of people took it as fact, commenting how interesting it was to learn that. Oh, and the plural form of ellipsis is ellipses, but I guess that falls under grammar.

Before anyone comments, I am fully aware of how petty and pedantic all of this sounds. Nothing of this really makes any difference. At least not in grand scheme of things. But it does make you look stupid. Sure, it is not on the level of “the moon is made out of cheese” stupid, but it is stupid nonetheless. And it is so easily remedied. A simple google search is all it takes. I do it many times each day, and that is only counting the times checking the veracity of what others state as fact. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would even want to claim something as fact without being at least somewhat certain of its truthfulness. This sloppiness with facts is a most unattractive trait in my eyes. Nothing epitomises this more than the many so-called fact accounts; social media accounts that regularly post what could at best be described as half truths.

But I think I have been standing on this soapbox long enough by now. I best take my grumpy self elsewhere to pursue more productive escapades. Thank you for your time, and in the future, please make an effort to thwart the spreading of falsehoods in all its forms.

Lesson (Not) Learned

Humans are stupid creatures. We quite often do things that we don’t like, even when we don’t have to. Fully aware that we will end up being angry, or upset, or just generally annoyed, we go ahead and do it all the same. A sort of emotional masochism, if you will. For me, that is Facebook.

Late last night I logged in, something I do only on rare occasions. Usually I try to stay clear because I find it rather tedious – I mean, how many pictures of pets can you look at before you start hating your friends? – but every now and then I pop in to check for messages and have a quick look around. Last night was one such night.

Someone had posted an article about the French election. It was nothing controversial at all, just a simple breakdown of the vote distribution between the candidates, and between the provinces. I had a quick read, and then took a gander at the comments. It was the usual idiocy, just like what you find on any article that is even remotely political: some hailing him as some sort of messiah, some going on about how he would turn the country muslim, interspersed with the usual jewish conspiracy theories. The usual stuff.

But what caught my eye were the ones complaining about how he hadn’t accomplished anything. And not in the sense that his career achievements were lacking. No, they were complaining that he had yet to do anything worthwhile as a president. Three days after election. No triumphant deed in 72 hours was enough to dismiss him as a failure. Things like that always manage to annoy, as well as amaze, me. How someone can be such an ideologue as to hate on someone or something with such fervor that even the slightest semblance of logic has vanished completely. And they weren’t even French. They were Americans. This kind of dogmatic extremism that seems to become more and more prevalent in Americans is something I find very frightening. It exist in Europe and the rest of the world as well, of course, but I have never seen it to this degree on this side of the pond, not this kind of vitriolic hatred just for the sake of hatred. It is unsettling, to say the least.

I think I better stop my ranting now, before it spirals out of control. There will most certainly be opportunities for more of that kind in the future, because knowing me, I will no doubt find myself screaming at the scream over some mind-numbingly moronic comment soon enough. Because not only are we stupid, we are slow learners as well.