Social scientists have identified at least three major forces that collectively bind together successful democracies: social capital (extensive social networks with high levels of trust), strong institutions, and shared stories. Social media has weakened all three.
Once social-media platforms had trained users to spend more time performing and less time connecting, the stage was set for the major transformation, which began in 2009: the intensification of viral dynamics.
一開始嘅社交媒體，係日常交流嘅延續：將原先同屋企人、朋友、戀人等嘅電話or短信轉移到喺社交媒體上嘅互動。但好快，開發咗like & share之後，同埋算法推薦排序之後，就慢慢變成post畀陌生人睇，想喺網上爆紅
Later research showed that posts that trigger emotions––especially anger at out-groups––are the most likely to be shared.
This new game encouraged dishonesty and mob dynamics: Users were guided not just by their true preferences but by their past experiences of reward and punishment, and their prediction of how others would react to each new action. One of the engineers at Twitter who had worked on the “Retweet” button later revealed that he regretted his contribution because it had made Twitter a nastier place. As he watched Twitter mobs forming through the use of the new tool, he thought to himself, “We might have just handed a 4-year-old a loaded weapon.”
It was just this kind of twitchy and explosive spread of anger that James Madison had tried to protect us from as he was drafting the U.S. Constitution. The Framers of the Constitution were excellent social psychologists. They knew that democracy had an Achilles’ heel because it depended on the collective judgment of the people, and democratic communities are subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions.” The key to designing a sustainable republic, therefore, was to build in mechanisms to slow things down, cool passions, require compromise, and give leaders some insulation from the mania of the moment while still holding them accountable to the people periodically, on Election Day.
Many authors quote his comments in “Federalist No. 10” on the innate human proclivity toward “faction,” by which he meant our tendency to divide ourselves into teams or parties that are so inflamed with “mutual animosity” that they are “much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.”
But that essay continues on to a less quoted yet equally important insight, about democracy’s vulnerability to triviality. Madison notes that people are so prone to factionalism that “where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.”
Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous.
It’s not just the waste of time and scarce attention that matters; it’s the continual chipping-away of trust. An autocracy can deploy propaganda or use fear to motivate the behaviors it desires, but a democracy depends on widely internalized acceptance of the legitimacy of rules, norms, and institutions. Blind and irrevocable trust in any particular individual or organization is never warranted. But when citizens lose trust in elected leaders, health authorities, the courts, the police, universities, and the integrity of elections, then every decision becomes contested; every election becomes a life-and-death struggle to save the country from the other side.
Recent academic studies suggest that social media is indeed corrosive to trust in governments, news media, and people and institutions in general. A working paper that offers the most comprehensive review of the research, led by the social scientists Philipp Lorenz-Spreen and Lisa Oswald, concludes that “the large majority of reported associations between digital media use and trust appear to be detrimental for democracy.” The literature is complex—some studies show benefits, particularly in less developed democracies—but the review found that, on balance, social media amplifies political polarization; foments populism, especially right-wing populism; and is associated with the spread of misinformation.
I think we can date the fall of the tower to the years between 2011 (Gurri’s focal year of “nihilistic” protests) and 2015, a year marked by the “great awokening” on the left and the ascendancy of Donald Trump on the right. Trump did not destroy the tower; he merely exploited its fall. He was the first politician to master the new dynamics of the post-Babel era, in which outrage is the key to virality, stage performance crushes competence, Twitter can overpower all the newspapers in the country, and stories cannot be shared (or at least trusted) across more than a few adjacent fragments—so truth cannot achieve widespread adherence.
What changed in the 2010s? Let’s revisit that Twitter engineer’s metaphor of handing a loaded gun to a 4-year-old. A mean tweet doesn’t kill anyone; it is an attempt to shame or punish someone publicly while broadcasting one’s own virtue, brilliance, or tribal loyalties. It’s more a dart than a bullet, causing pain but no fatalities. Even so, from 2009 to 2012, Facebook and Twitter passed out roughly 1 billion dart guns globally. We’ve been shooting one another ever since.
First, the dart guns of social media give more power to trolls and provocateurs while silencing good citizens.
Second, the dart guns of social media give more power and voice to the political extremes while reducing the power and voice of the moderate majority.
Finally, by giving everyone a dart gun, social media deputizes everyone to administer justice with no due process.
The most reliable cure for confirmation bias is interaction with people who don’t share your beliefs. They confront you with counterevidence and counterargument. John Stuart Mill said, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that,” and he urged us to seek out conflicting views “from persons who actually believe them.” People who think differently and are willing to speak up if they disagree with you make you smarter, almost as if they are extensions of your own brain. People who try to silence or intimidate their critics make themselves stupider, almost as if they are shooting darts into their own brain.
always the same，除此之外別無他法。永遠都係要交流先可以減少一啲認知偏差甚至錯誤。但可怕嘅就係冇一人可以倖免，無論左右，無論政黨，都深陷於此：一係反智暴力，一係扼殺異議。最後充斥晒嗰啲聲音，而理性明智嘅聲音只能被迫沉默
American politics is getting ever more ridiculous and dysfunctional not because Americans are getting less intelligent. The problem is structural. Thanks to enhanced-virality social media, dissent is punished within many of our institutions, which means that bad ideas get elevated into official policy.
then, how to change?
What changes are needed? Redesigning democracy for the digital age is far beyond my abilities, but I can suggest three categories of reforms––three goals that must be achieved if democracy is to remain viable in the post-Babel era. We must harden democratic institutions so that they can withstand chronic anger and mistrust, reform social media so that it becomes less socially corrosive, and better prepare the next generation for democratic citizenship in this new age.
Most Americans in the More in Common report are members of the “exhausted majority,” which is tired of the fighting and is willing to listen to the other side and compromise. Most Americans now see that social media is having a negative impact on the country, and are becoming more aware of its damaging effects on children.
When Tocqueville toured the United States in the 1830s, he was impressed by the American habit of forming voluntary associations to fix local problems, rather than waiting for kings or nobles to act, as Europeans would do. That habit is still with us today. In recent years, Americans have started hundreds of groups and organizations dedicated to building trust and friendship across the political divide, including BridgeUSA, Braver Angels (on whose board I serve), and many others listed at BridgeAlliance.us. We cannot expect Congress and the tech companies to save us. We must change ourselves and our communities.
Dr. David L. Katz, a U.S. public health and preventive medicine expert who wrote one of the most prescient early guest essays in this newspaper about managing Covid at the onset, explained to me that the problem with having the kind of draconian lockdown policy that China maintained is that you are guaranteeing that your population develops little native immunity from having acquired and survived the virus. So, Katz said, if the virus mutates globally, as it did with Omicron, and you have “a less than effective vaccine, virtually no natural immunity in the population, and millions of elderly unvaccinated, you’re in a bad place and there is no easy way out.”
The moral of this story? High-coercion authoritarian systems are low-information systems — so they often drive blind more than they realize. And even when the truth filters up, or reality in the form of a more powerful foe or Mother Nature slams them in the face so hard it can’t be ignored, their leaders find it hard to change course because their claims to the right to be presidents-for-life rest on their claims to infallibility. And that is why Russia and China are both now struggling.
I am worried sick about our own democratic system. But as long as we can still vote out incompetent leaders and maintain information ecosystems that will expose systemic lying and defy censorship, we can adapt in an age of rapid change — and that is the single most important competitive advantage a country can have today.
and have to say起碼喺微博都仲睇到，喺微信公眾號發嘅就已經刪咗……
Hall and Madsen propose that the running total of traffic deaths increases anxiety and therefore cognitive load, robbing drivers of the mental bandwidth they need to pay attention and drive safely.
疫情的而且確改變咗好多嘢，學科上嘅落後唔提，學生嘅生活技能同社交能力都降低咗。所幸，方案總比問題多，富有創作力嘅學校教師正在用各種辦法嚟解決。不能不提嘅係將大啲同比較細嘅小朋友放喺一齊閲讀交流嘅辦法，that's really nice
这让我想起Bullshit Jobs里讲的五大类狗屁工作：帮闲（flunky）、打手（goon）、补漏人（duct taper）、打勾人（box ticker）和任务大师（taskmaster）。补漏人的工作，就是那种负责解决本来不该存在的问题的工作。大体上就是女人在做，她们拿真实的防水胶布，把现实中就是组不起来的东西固定在一块儿。
換個輕鬆啲嘅話題，好正，入邊特別中意嘅一張係成家六口人圍住一齊睇書嘅畫面，then feel sad that我屋企已經做唔到，或者可能以後可以？噢，應該話肯定得：一個人喺屋企睇書
本文並非意在批判梁鈺等人，筆者想指出的是，「粉紅女權」群體的出現恰恰是當下社會狀況的產物。 這意味著只有國家擁有定義「正當」與否的權力，留給民間的空間越來越小，體制外的聲音幾乎很難被聽見。 在越來越多的網絡「戰狼」主動出擊、動輒網絡暴力的情況下，民間的潰敗似乎也是一種必然。 這是當下中國女權主義的現狀，也是中國公民社會的現狀——衝擊體制的行動幾乎被封死，溫和的行動也必須要接受體制的檢視與介入；無論是誰都時刻活在被舉報的恐懼中，要不斷證明自己的「正確」立場。 這不僅是個人品質好壞/投機與否造成的結果，更是掌權者在沒有制約下，利用國家機器拉攏、打壓、恐嚇的結果。
We’re now at a point in history when generations of people have scarcely known a world without The Simpsons. “The first 10 seasons were a defining cultural phenomenon,” Sachs tells me. “Why was it so important? It was mainstream and subversive at the same time. It grew out of punk culture and represented a popular mistrust of government and police, and the corporations who control them. Because it was animated, it got away with murder. It could say and show things that were too violent, outrageous, or anarchistic for broadcast television. And it happened every week for a decade.”
“America has certainly turned into Springfield,” says Matt Selman, who is, along with Al Jean, the current showrunner. “I’m gonna generously say: Good people are easily misled. Terrifyingly easily misled. That’s always been in the DNA of the show, but now it’s in the DNA of America. It was a show about American groupthink, and how Americans are tricked—by advertising, by corporations, by religion, by all these other institutions that don’t have the best interests of people at heart.”
Groening says it was Brooks who told everyone to try to forget they were working on a cartoon altogether—to strive for emotional resonance rather than plain silliness. This is another reason why the show is, as Selman puts it, “the only thing from the ’90s that still exists.”
emotional resonance attracts more eyes.
This joke has been making me laugh for 25 years. I asked Meyer exactly why it’s so funny. “That’s a sterling example of Simpsons humor,” he says, “and I think what really puts it over the top is the last sentence. The punch line is really ‘You are a coward.’ But Marge’s response to the insult is perfectly in character, as she tries to deflect a preposterous curve-ball with logic. It’s her version of Rodney Dangerfield’s ‘No respect.’ ”
It might not be necessary, but Jean does tell me his idea of an ending for the series, if it ever comes to that. It would be a callback to the very first episode, which opens with the family attending a Christmas pageant at Springfield Elementary School. “It’s always been my idea that in the last episode,” he says, “we should return to the original Christmas pageant that they go to—so that the whole series is a continuous loop, so the cartoon has no beginning, no end, nobody ages, nobody learns anything. That’s what I would do.
“But,” he concludes, “I don’t think it’s going to end.”
hah, I like this possible ending.
Company shareholders grew $1.5 trillion richer, while workers got less than 2% of that benefit
The 22 companies spent five times more on dividends and stock buybacks than on all additional pay for workers. Diverting some, or all, of that shareholder cash would have allowed companies to increase wages significantly. The 16 companies that repurchased nearly $50 billion of their shares could have raised the annual pay of their median worker by an average of 40% if they had redirected that money to employees.
40%! Could you believe it? However, this do not happen.
Instead, building a more equitable model of capitalism will require a new balance of power between executives, shareholders, and other stakeholders, such as workers, government, and society at large. Rather than hoping companies will exercise their discretion to benefit workers, the U.S. needs laws, institutions, and policies that require, pressure, and incentivize them to do so.
Policy reforms are needed that span labor law, regulation of working conditions (including wages), corporate disclosure, corporate governance, and more. Specific recommendations include: better employer data for consumers, policymakers, and workers; labor law reform for workers to exercise their power; a raise in the minimum wage; and greater worker voice in corporate governance.
Let's see when and how to do it. The right of workers are available and waiting for fighting for.