By Carlos Abler
Leader – Content Marketing and Strategy: Global eTransformation
Social media is like democracy. It is as good as we make it.
The power of the network, the value that WE generate, is far more powerful and valuable than any ‘election hacker,’ algorithm, or marketing effort.
There is no more powerful weapon than that of the quality and intent of our own individual actions, collectively together.
The information we convey. The civility we show. The relationships we nurture. The discourses we hold. The motives we invoke. The actions we instigate and activate.
No algorithm is stronger than the intentional connections we make and sustain.
We need to spend less time blaming algorithms and more time striving for excellence stewarding out personal networks. Inside and especially outside of the silos of our default opinion and family/friend associations. Nothing ensures network fail (and society fail) more assuredly than saying “unfriend me if you disagree with me”.
Want to defeat algorithms? Reach out to someone you disagree with and sustain a kind conversation. It’s cheaper than therapy and is real yoga.
No propagandist or political hacker is stronger than a politically educated citizen.
Stop blaming Zuckerberg for not micromanaging disinformation to perfection, and start studying how states function. Understand how the legacy of power as embodied in the present.
Listen to high-quality podcasts while you do dishes.
Ask informed people questions publicly to tap the wisdom of the best of the crowd.
Learn how to read between the lines of media without thinking that your first paranoid thought is the correct one.
Start realizing that social media critical posturing is not the same as well-informed analysis.
Think critically; someone’s intentions may be worse than you think.
Be generous in interpreting the intentions of others and learning about their worldviews and contexts about which you may have no expert knowledge; their intentions might be better than you think.
Do all of this. Then, not only will you be less susceptible to disinformation, but you will be less guilty of disseminating it yourself. The bulk of disinformation I encounter is spread by (mostly) well-intentioned friends and associates of mine, not foreign governments, deep states, corporations, or bots.
We will save social media and the rest of the world through the power of our actions.
There is no singular evil man behind the curtain, and no superhero to defeat him.
We the people are the majority of whatever darkness or light there is in human life.
The power is ours for us to use.
Carlos Abler has a 30-year track record of directing and creating mixed media experiences, for a wide variety of disciplines and clients; including marketing, theater, entertainment, education, information design, and civil society initiatives. Past clients include Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, General Mills, AARP, Johnson & Johnson, History Channel, Smithsonian, Columbia University and Gyuto Tantric University. Project awards include Webby, WSIS World Summit Award, W3, and Communication Arts Interactive Annual for Information Design.
Leveraging content as a catalyst for digital transformation, customer-centricity, and stakeholder value creation, Carlos leads initiatives that drive roadmaps of maturity across content programs, technologies, business process and human resource development.