It is impossible to ignore the influence of social media. In the years since Facebook and Twitter, in particular, have exploded onto our browsers and mobile devices, many millions have found themselves spending more and more time watching their feeds update. “Doomscrolling” became a common word during the Trump years. Social media has connected us with people across the world with shared interests and hobbies. In too-many instances, it has also allowed the worst aspects of human nature to flourish. In Social Warming, Charles Arthur takes a deep dive into the ways in which social media has changed the world and today we have an excerpt for you. First, though, here’s the synopsis:
Nobody meant for this to happen.
Facebook didn’t mean to facilitate a genocide.
Twitter didn’t want to be used to harass women.
YouTube never planned to radicalise young men.
But with billions of users, these platforms need only tweak their algorithms to generate more ‘engagement’. In so doing, they bring unrest to previously settled communities and erode our relationships.
Social warming has happened gradually — as a by-product of our preposterously convenient digital existence. But the gradual deterioration of our attitudes and behaviour on- and offline — this vicious cycle of anger and outrage — can be corrected. Here’s how.
Now, on with the excerpt…