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5 Scientific Ways the Internet is Dividing Us

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posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:06 AM
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I ran across this article from Cracked.com yesterday and although it it there for our humor it also holds some validity. I think it is an enjoyable read and thought I would share and get your opinions on it. I am always amazed by what things I can learn/find from the internet. It makes life more fun on occasion, and can complicate it on other occasions.

#5. New Algorithms That Make Sure You Only Talk to People You Agree With


The only reason you know anything about how to be a good human being is because other people told you when you screwed up. It's not pleasant being told you smell or that your jokes aren't funny or that your scrotum has fallen out of your pants, but it's also the only way you know to start showering or learn funnier jokes or move to a more open-minded neighborhood. You already knew this -- we all can think of rich people and celebrities who are surrounded by "yes men" who never give them honest feedback and who get so disconnected that they basically go crazy (see: Michael Jackson, George Lucas).

Yet the Internet is building that bubble of "yes men" around you, right now, and you don't even notice. For instance, everyone's favorite social networking site, Facebook, is filtering your friends according to how much you agree with them. It's not some crazy conspiracy theory, it's a computer algorithm.

Tech expert Eli Pariser calls these algorithms the "filter bubble," and its implications are pretty sinister. You've already seen this if you are a younger person continually embarrassed/frustrated by the idiotic Facebook hoaxes your older family members fall for. No, Uncle Frank, Obama did not ban the use of the phrase "Christmas tree" and didn't paint over an American flag with his own logo. How can he not recognize these as silly urban legends? Because everyone who would tell him so has been filtered out. Bad information can circulate forever in a bubble where everybody agrees with it.


The above explains a lot doesn't it?

While we discuss a lot of things here at ATS and get involved in some pretty hefty discussions about who is right and who is wrong, there are a ton of folks who do seemingly only go to places or study up on things they agree with or are comfortable with. As humans I think we mostly all like to be in our comfort zones, but sometimes you have to expand your mind a bit.
I have learned a lot of things by hearing other's out and have had my mind changed on a number of different issues as well.

#4. New Methods to Make Misinformation Spread Faster


Instead of reclining on the front porch to leisurely peruse the 11,282-word sentence at the end of Ulysses (you know ... like we used to), we're browsing headlines, or skimming through our RSS feed or Tumblr. The brain is like a muscle -- it gets good at whatever you spend the most time doing, and what we spend all of our time doing is skimming. Whether we mean to or not, we're training our brain to have a #ty attention span -- and we mean it's actually changing the shape of our brain, building up our ability to skim an ocean of facts and decreasing our ability to actually stop and dig into the details.

And that means we are getting really, really bad at sniffing out bad or false information.
It's awesome that anybody with a keyboard can get published online -- that's what the Internet is all about, after all. But it's not so great when we lose the ability to figure out whether the story about Kim Jong-un being assassinated came from a BBC reporter at the scene or a 14-year-old 4chan poster reporting from his bedroom. The legit news sites, the tabloid news sites, the great blogs, the #ty blogs ... all of it gets swirled together in the pot, and what floats to the top isn't the stuff that's true, but the stuff that is first with the story (even if it's wrong) or the most inflammatory (and not surprisingly, user-generated content tends to be more biased than professional content).


This also explains a lot and I find it to be pretty dead on most of the time. I still find myself guilty of skimming at times, but I do try to weed out the disinformation if I am passing something on to someone else. ATS teaches a lot of us really quick that we need to have our sources straight before we come running through the door screaming "FIRE!!!"


I see a lot of adults and kids that believe everything they read online. If we can't do that with television, then one would think it works the same online.


#3. User-Submitted News Sites That Create Thought Bubbles


Let's say you've been wronged in some small way. A co-worker makes a snide remark, or takes credit for something that was your idea. Not a big deal, but you talk to a group of your friends about it, and they respond with "Oh, that's bull#! I can't believe she said/did that! Are you gonna sit back and take that?!? Man, if it were me ..."

And, in their valiant attempts to offer you sympathy, they rile you up to the point where you're now ready to burn the office to the ground out of spite.

There's a scientific name for that, and we've mentioned it before -- the law of group polarization. Research shows that people become more extreme in their beliefs the more time they spend thinking or talking about them -- even if no new information is introduced. Just the act of repeating it makes you angrier.
Well, when you get your news from user-submitted news sites, you get that same effect. This is why a conservative one like FreeRepublic.com is still absolutely full of the aforementioned "Obama birth certificate is fake" links, and why the Ron Paul subreddit is full of stories that make it sound like the fringe candidate is on the verge of winning the nomination


This one made me literally
because I have seen this occur more times in my life than I can count!!

#2. Discussion Formats That Encourage Us to Be Negative


Imagine a big adorable pile of sleeping puppies. Six of them, laying there, peacefully, not bothering anyone. Oh, wait, there's only five -- one is now off in the corner, chewing on the power cord for your TV.
Which of the six puppies do you give attention to?

Do you congratulate individually each of the five for being quiet and adorable, and then make the sixth stop chewing? No, you ignore the good ones and only smack the chewing one. There's no time to be nice -- he's on the verge of ruining your TV and electrocuting himself. When time is short, we only give the negative feedback, because we assume the good ones will keep doing what they're doing if they don't hear otherwise -- this is why you only seem to hear from your boss when you screw up.

The Internet is like that. When you shop, you probably rely on online feedback to avoid a bad purchase. But the feedback skews negative -- people who are satisfied with their purchases usually just go about their lives enjoying their new Flowbee or whatever. They don't think about logging on to Amazon and telling the world about how tight their hair is now. But the people who are dissatisfied -- WATCH OUT. Researchers put it this way:

"As online forums become more populated, for example, customers who are more positive and less involved tend to stick to the sidelines, while customers who are more involved and more critical take their place."

Continued Below




posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:06 AM
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Part 2

So online feedback tends to be either from people who are being negative or from people who are positive and see that other people are trashing the thing they're positive about. Now they have to speak up, just to try to negate the #ness. One way or the other, the loudest, most negative people dictate the discussion. You've probably also seen this phenomenon in every single political discussion that has ever taken place online.


Yep...


Last but not least:

#1. The Divisive Gap Between Internet Users and Everyone Else


Of course, we've been spending this whole article talking about all of the different opinions you find on the Internet, completely ignoring the fact that the Internet is not, in fact, the world. Two Internet users arguing over taxes or health care are, in the grand scheme of things, the equivalent of two rich dudes at a country club arguing over yacht brands.

The digital divide is what they call the gap between Internet users (hi!) and non-Internet users (um ... hi?). It's the reason that when you make a LOLcats reference to your grandmother, she tells you to stop drinking so many sody pops. This may seem like just a mild quirk, but in global terms, it's actually a massive problem.

Let's start with just your family: The differences between your daily life and your grandparents' daily lives are bigger than ever. They're being excluded more and more, not only from you, but from life in general. In the U.K. in 2009, for example, 47 percent of people aged 50 and over had never used the Internet, and 60 percent of people in that age group admitted that they were scared of spam, pornography and "unpleasant experiences" (here defined as "encounters with My Little Pony fans").

Zoom out a little more, and you find the divide between wealthy and poor communities is exacerbated by the fact that education is so much easier for kids who can afford to do their work online. Zoom out even further, and you'll see that because less than 1 percent of Ethiopia's population has access to the Internet, they're being totally left out of the communications revolution, while regular Internet users are becoming even more dependent on it.

Hell, we just said a bit ago that Internet use effectively rewires our brains -- that's a weird thought when you stop and realize that 66 percent of us have no Internet access at all, and some of those who do are using limited or restricted connections (see: China, parts of the Middle East) that can't even read this article due to all of the inflammatory words we're about to insert (Tiananmen, Arab Spring, bonerfest).

So if the Internet is all about carefully presenting us with only the stories and opinions we care about, and the Internet is only available to the richest third of us, then guess what? No matter how open-minded you are, the sheer fact that you're able to read this means you're already in a bubble.


I never stopped to think of it like this and would had wrongly ASSumed that more people had internet access than that. I think all of these made pretty good points and were delivered in a way that was pretty entertaining to read. If you visit the site you will find pictures and more of the article that was not included here.

Do you agree with this? Do you find yourself or people you know doing these things? I specifically do not have a Facebook account because of some of the stuff I see going on there and figured I didn't need to add another site to occupy more time to boot.


Here is the link to the original article:

www.cracked.com...



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:20 AM
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5 ways the internet has *connected* us:

ATS/Social Networking
International Communication
Wikileaks/Anon
Alternative news sources
Laughing @ LOL cats



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:22 AM
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I've been on many forums over the years, and I'm seeing more instances where one person says something, or posts something and get's ignored, but when a more popular person posts or says the same thing, it gets undivided attention. Some of it is post by accounts that sign up (from what it looks like) JUST to post that single tidbit. Then the account is deleted and never heard from again. It's actually happening now, and I'd post it, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post content from another forum. So I'm just going to say PM me if you want to know more.

Online forums are dying out. It's not just here. People are flocking to the mega forums, and that's when these techniques will be the most effective.



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by Sinny
5 ways the internet has *connected* us:

ATS/Social Networking
International Communication
Wikileaks/Anon
Alternative news sources
Laughing @ LOL cats




Good point! It's a double edged sword for sure!



Originally posted by satron
I've been on many forums over the years, and I'm seeing more instances where one person says something, or posts something and get's ignored, but when a more popular person posts or says the same thing, it gets undivided attention. Some of it is post by accounts that sign up (from what it looks like) JUST to post that single tidbit. Then the account is deleted and never heard from again. It's actually happening now, and I'd post it, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post content from another forum. So I'm just going to say PM me if you want to know more.

Online forums are dying out. It's not just here. People are flocking to the mega forums, and that's when these techniques will be the most effective.


I have seen what you are talking about more than I care to at times. It gets annoying when there seems to be a popularity contest going on.


I think certain forums are cyclical. Kind of like when something huge happens in the government or some new conspiracy hits the news ATS will see a rush from it. Same goes with other triggers for other forums I suppose. You meet all kinds on the net... good, bad, and obnoxious!



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by Kangaruex4Ewe

Originally posted by Sinny
5 ways the internet has *connected* us:

ATS/Social Networking
International Communication
Wikileaks/Anon
Alternative news sources
Laughing @ LOL cats




Good point! It's a double edged sword for sure!



Originally posted by satron
I've been on many forums over the years, and I'm seeing more instances where one person says something, or posts something and get's ignored, but when a more popular person posts or says the same thing, it gets undivided attention. Some of it is post by accounts that sign up (from what it looks like) JUST to post that single tidbit. Then the account is deleted and never heard from again. It's actually happening now, and I'd post it, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post content from another forum. So I'm just going to say PM me if you want to know more.

Online forums are dying out. It's not just here. People are flocking to the mega forums, and that's when these techniques will be the most effective.


I have seen what you are talking about more than I care to at times. It gets annoying when there seems to be a popularity contest going on.


I think certain forums are cyclical. Kind of like when something huge happens in the government or some new conspiracy hits the news ATS will see a rush from it. Same goes with other triggers for other forums I suppose. You meet all kinds on the net... good, bad, and obnoxious!


They probably are cyclical, and there are probably people behind the scenes that take advantage of that.



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 02:34 PM
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Don't forget the porn.

Everybody likes porn.

Unless they're religious.



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