A big part of technology adoption is understanding what it’s good for. Discussing Twitter, political scientist Yascha Mounk has made a point along those lines. His view gets at something I’ve mulled over in recent months: we may just have to learn that social media is structurally flawed for use in democratic politics.
I think the biggest danger of Twitter is one that we can actually do something about… Twitter is inhabited by some of the most extreme ideological people and yet a lot of decision makers, a lot of influential people in our country and around the world mistake it for reality.
They think that an argument that travels well on Twitter is one that most of the voters, most of the stakeholders agree with. They think about if something that’s heavily criticized on Twitter it must mean that a huge percentage of a population finds it bad or offensive and there’s simply no evidence for that.
Every study shows that only a minority of people use Twitter. That only a minority of the people who do use Twitter post regularly about politics.
And it shows that those who do post about politics, in the word of one study, tend to be ideological extremists.
So I don’t know how to ensure that terrorist networks can’t form though social media. I don’t know how to ensure that when you log onto Twitter you won’t have a terrible time.
But I do know how all of us collectively can make sure that Twitter has less of an influence on our country and that is for us to learn to ignore Twitter, to pay less attention to it, to perhaps delete it from your phone, to not over estimate the representativeness of Twitter when you are making decisions in your place of work. it doesn’t take huge regulation.
It doesn’t take some systematic change in order to accomplish that. it is something that each of us can do on our own.
Source: Slate’s Trumpcast