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Thread: Opinions Are Viral

  1. #1
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Opinions Are Viral

    If you're on any kind of social networking (or even if you aren't), it's pretty obvious that people spend more time reblogging other peoples' opinions than they do sharing their own. A single picture or statement could have thousands of shares and a million likes, all in mindless agreement.

    Is it healthy for critical thinking to promote this kind of thing? It's pretty much the crux of Tumblr and Facebook. Letting other people speak for you, or thoughtlessly conceding to the opinions of others, is frowned upon when it comes to things like media and political influence. But yet it's become such a norm for people to do just that regarding a random Tumblr post, Youtube video, Tweet or Facebook status. What's up with that?

  2. #2
    Ruler of the Seventh Empire GunZet's Avatar
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    The new generation is a large herd of fast moving, technologically advanced, sheep. So I mean, it's safe to say that with things in the internet/information age going so fast, people have just gotten a biiiiiitt lazy (understatement) with stuff, and start agreeing with the closest thing that already exists that also reflects their opinions.

    But we all do that, right?
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  3. #3
    One Thousand Member Matt's Avatar
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    Well, then you get posts like these:
    ‎Garrett brought up a good point awhile ago that I've been thinking about: why is there such a negative social stigma, particularly among teens and young adults, attached to being good?

    Is good rejected for the sake of fun? If so, there are literally billions of ways to have fun without being bad, so to speak.

    Is it rejected "fur teh lulz?" I'm unable to argue this point, because most people who take this stance generally don't have a logically justifiable reason in the first place.

    I think part of the reason for the increase in legally or morally questionable activities may be due to the punishments for said activities getting to a point nearing non-existence. For many people, there are no negative consequences in the foreseeable future for any sort of questionable activity. There are consequences, though, and that's why most older people don't do stupid things.

    Before I'm inundated with examples of older people doing stupid things, please know that they are most likely the exception, not the rule. Either that or they work for the government, like Lamar Smith.

    "Bad" is also glorified by nearly all popular media these days. Songs about getting drunk and having sex, movies about stupid adults who want to crush partying teens' fun--it's all inaccurate and horribly misguided. Cops are 100% of the time the bad guys or on-the-edge good guys. Parents are the same way.

    Basically what I'm saying is that you should listen to your parents, not have underage sex, respect your teachers, and all that other goody two-shoes stuff that 90% of you don't want to hear, especially from someone your own age.

    I feel like I'm treading the surface of a much deeper issue here. Something about celebrity worship and generation decay. I'll have to study up on that and make a post later.
    With one or two likes and posts like these:
    took a crap lol
    With fifty.

    And then there's these:
    IMA NEVER GOIN OUR WITH MEN AGAEN!!!@!@ YOU DON'T UNDERSAND!!!!!!!!!!
    Though on a more related topic, yes, people do agree with things too fast these days. Like they don't even bother to do research of their own. Actually, that first quote is pretty relevant to the topic.

  4. #4
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    ^ In my opinion, the person quoted is talking shit. With a holier-than-thou attitude!

    People are not motivated to act out by what they see on TV or what they see celebrities do. To insinuate they are is quite patronising, since it characterises people as mindless automata who are controlled by the media. Without a solid motivation for doing something illegal or 'immoral', they wouldn't do it. Most of the things the poster characterised as 'bad' are a healthy part of maturation. Underage and/or premarital sex has happened since the dawn of time, it's not about to stop now, and insinuating it's caused by the media is absurd. For christ's sake, haven't they heard of Romeo and Juliet? Even in medieval times, young noblemen would get obscenely drunk, disobey their parents, fight each other to the death over women, etc.

    Disobedience and questioning of authority figures and the law are likewise healthy parts of maturing. If one obeys all the time, then one is made into a machine designed to serve those authority figures. Authority figures (in my anarchist opinion) should always be questioned, since they derive their power from what we allow them to have. If we don't question authority, it can do whatever it likes without being held in check. Remember too that questioning authority is not necessarily disobeying authority. You might agree with the authority on one point or another.

    Part of growing up is realising that it's okay to disobey one's parents if they're talking shit, and realising that they're fallible people just like everyone else. The poster seems to cling to the view that parents are perfect and omnipotent, which is equally or more childish than the behaviour he's railing against. That they promote discipline as the 'answer' to these 'problems' is another good signifier of their simplistic view of the world. "Punish bad people, they won't do bad things." This view is wrongheaded and ignores the real causes of youth delinquency while scapegoating various common targets - the media, etc. The poster seems to have imbibed right-wing politicians' words and swallowed deeply.

    ___________________________________________

    More generally, I don't think social networking has made people less critical. I think the way our lives are structured and the norms we're socialised into makes people uncritical, and social networking just makes it more obvious than ever before. Trends, consumerism, left wing, right wing, center, liberalism, authoritarianism, any -ism makes people conform and belong to a community, and in doing so murder their autonomy. Which almost everyone wants. In Aristotle's words: "...he who is unable to live in society... must be either a beast or a god." To what extent do we sacrifice our individuality, critical thinking, reasoning, etc. to 'belong'?

    I believe in people, not ideas. I believe that our infatuation with groups and ideologies and class divisions and economics and youth crime and politics and capitalism and consumerism makes us fail to empathise with others. 99% of society is based on bullshit designed to maintain the status quo in one way or another, and I don't mean that in a Marxist way, more a post-structuralist way. We should look at people, not general behaviour or groups or ideas or averages or statistics. All we need to do to understand why people will thoughtlessly agree with ideas is take a long hard critical look at how we ourselves behave, and for God's sake empathise instead of demonising them as 'dumb kids'. In the words of Ferris Bueller (oh yeah): "Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself."
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    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  5. #5
    Super Senior Member Celestial-Fox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    More generally, I don't think social networking has made people less critical. I think the way our lives are structured and the norms we're socialised into makes people uncritical, and social networking just makes it more obvious than ever before.
    This, this, this forever. because yeah, Tumblr is the most popular social media aggregate known to man (dat reblog), but like with Facebook and any other social media form, you don't have to follow/friend/whatever mindless people. Through my social media experience (largely due to the things that I choose to follow), I have learned to be more critical—not less.

    Obviously not everyone is cut out to strategize properly, or even is in the right place to even start looking for things that help them become more critical or learn media literacy (middle schoolers on Myspace). But eh, like Del said, it's a reflection of what our offline society is like, too.

    Opinion: In a world composed of mostly opinions, kids should have a media literacy class in school. I've seen some good media documentaries recently that I think more people should be aware of.

  6. #6
    Moderator Psy's Avatar
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    Social networking is like hichschool on steroids. In highschool everyone wants to fit in and be like everyone else so the same will come with FB MySpace twitter and all the other "hangouts" of the internet. Its not "cool" to go against popular opinion and to add to that opinion makes you look like you are trying to hard to be cool. I support being uncool.

  7. #7
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    So we are hipsters.

  8. #8
    999 Knights Member AlmanacnamedTime's Avatar
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    if its fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Liebe View Post
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  9. #9
    Lord of Death jubeh's Avatar
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    Social networking is really nothing compared to simple advertising. Though I guess you could argue social networking is just the newest medium of advertising.

  10. #10
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Except advertising can be understood as someone directly trying to influence your opinions. Social networking, on the other hand, is comprised entirely of unknown people throwing random thoughts into the fray. Yet others subscribe to them as if they were advertising. A TV ad, for example, is engineered by marketing gurus to target and exploit a specific niche of people (if not people in general). On the other hand, a Facebook status, tweet, or Youtube video really doesn't mean anything. Yet even without the intent of influence, people still subscribe to them mindlessly. In the case of social networking, people basically impose conformity upon themselves.


    And yeah, Delphinus, that's a good point. It just seems very strange for a generation that is very up-in-arms about conformist mentality and ideological uniformity to still be doing the same bullshit they condemn, just on a different level.

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