Your Feelings On The Coronavirus Don't Matter
For the last few months, the world has been dealing with a global pandemic. If this is news to you, then I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you.
If you are like me, your various social media platforms have once again turned into the most efficient bullshit machines imaginable. You've probably argued with strangers, cut ties with your aunt that you only really see during the holidays, and discovered that the friend request you recently accepted was - most likely - a bad idea. Of course, when I say "various social media platforms", I'm mainly referring to arguably the largest.
Ah, Facebook. The magical social networking application that turns the average joe into a jack of all trades. Who knew that zero education was needed to become a lawyer, a doctor, or even a political scientist? Had people realized you could have just joined Facebook instead of pursuing a formal education, student debt may not be as big of an issue as it currently is.
The power of confirmation bias is largely the reason for this massive heap of uneducated sheep. And Facebook only helps to perpetuate this issue. According to this study, 61% of Millennials rely on Facebook as their main source of news. And, Facebook has been very honest about their approach to sharing information with you. They prioritize information that they believe will interest you. This, combined with the fact that your friends list is more likely to contain people you agree with than not, brings us a unique issue.
What's that issue exactly? Well, we all think we're experts. If you are more of a liberal, you will be seeing more liberal content that reaffirms your own biases. For conservatives, the same remains true. Even if you aren't necessarily reading every headline and every post, you are constantly being punched in the face with information that you will most likely agree with. And while that may make for a more enjoyable experience on Facebook, it may make you a worse person.
Despite what you want to hear, It's a healthy exercise to look up counterpoints to your own beliefs. For one, It will make you even better at overcoming objections to your own arguments and two, it will expand your knowledge and perhaps open you up to discussions you may not have thought about beforehand. Every time you form an opinion about something, try researching the opposing views. I promise you, you will become even more knowledgeable AND you will stand a much greater chance at persuading those around you to consider your opinions.
Now, back to the headline.
Your feelings on the Coronavirus don't matter. I'm sorry to be the one to have to break it to you, but they don't. Why don't they matter? For one, you aren't a scientist. You aren't a doctor. You aren't a pandemic expert. You aren't a historian. Face it, you are unqualified. That doesn't necessarily mean you can't discuss the topic. I'm not here to tell you that you cannot discuss something. But what that does mean, is that you should NOT be presenting information as fact unless it has been thoroughly sourced and fact checked. And even then, how one analyzes and understands data is far more important than just regurgitating and presenting it.
In other words, as a user of social media YOU have a responsibility to your platform. Facebook and the like has given everyone a voice in cyberspace, a voice that can bounce off the empty walls of your inactive user space OR a voice that can reach millions. And sometimes, it's hard to gauge just how loud your voice will be.
This amazing technology that could only be dreamed of less than a century ago comes with responsibilities. Spider-man tells us that with great power comes great responsibility. The ability to connect with hundreds, thousands, even millions with just a click of a button, THAT is power. And you can use that power for good, or for evil. I hope you choose the former.
Over the last few months, I've read just about everything. That Coronavirus is a political tool to sway voters. That it was designed in a lab. That it was developed as a weapon. That it's the next step in pushing us towards a one-world-government designed to strip our rights away. That it came from a bat. That social distancing works. That social distancing doesn't work. That the correct solution was to only isolate the older and weaker individuals who would be higher risk, while the rest of us built up herd immunity. That the death count was inflated. That Bill Gates is the puppet master pulling the strings in order to microchip the population. Most of the time, these are not original thoughts. You read them somewhere and regurgitated them because they aligned with your preconceived biases.
I get it. I once dropped acid and watched the Zeitgeist too. Jet fuel can't melt steel beams. The bankers control the world, and everything is a facade while those in secret power push their agendas of world domination.
I don't know about you, but when I was in school I wasn't allowed to use Wikipedia as source material for my research papers. I was told, "just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's true".
Well, what the FUCK happened?
Suddenly, EVERYTHING on the internet is now true. We don't fact check, we don't do research, we don't source our information. We just read what we accept to be true, hit the share button, and continue to potentially misinform those who desire to stay informed.
Fact check everything. Challenge your own viewpoints. Do research. Source your material. These are unpopular because they require effort. I get that. However, that is your DUTY as a user of social media. Because social media is power, and with great power comes great...you get it.
It's time we break the cycle. The internet is supposed to be a wealth of data and information. A virtual infinite library of knowledge. If you are going to use this library to discuss current events and politics, then you owe it to yourself and to your virtual friends to be honest and thorough in your research. If you won't, then maybe the discussions are best left for the experts. Believe it or not, it's perfectly okay to say "You know what, I don't know enough about this particular topic therefore I am unable to contribute to the discussion."
There is a difference between questioning the narrative with information, logic and understanding, and questioning the narrative because you spent 6 hours deep in the rabbit hole on YouTube at 4am. Take off the tinfoil hat and do some work. Until then, just shut the fuck up.