Social Media and Freedom

I really enjoy reading all of those gushy books and articles telling us how the Internet and the social media are democratizing politics and making authoritarianism impossible. True freedom was going to come from the Internet. People would finally get a chance to speak out and make themselves heard without any oppressive institutions standing in their way. The true wisdom of the common folk will find a voice! The youngsters who are so good with social media will sweep the boring oldsters out of the way! Yippee! The wealth of knowledge held by the “common intelligence” “hovers in the air on the Internet, accessible to everyone.”

These books and articles were very popular from around 2005-6 and all the way until November of 2016. The ones I quoted in this post are from 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2015.

And then a 70-year-old man who learned how to manipulate social media very well made a total joke out of all these predictions. And we discovered that vox populi was not filled with eternal and essential wisdom but was nasty, angry, resentful, trivial, and extraordinarily dumb.


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