Some corners of the online economy are shaping up in hate filled ways. As we grapple with a world where disinformation can easily look just as real as real news and actual facts, average citizens are put in a tough spot. Cancel, ignore, block --- or engage. This is a challenge to everyone living in a democracy to get into the fight. It couldn't be more real or important.
Before I issue this challenge this disclaimer - Though I skew left politically this challenge isn't political. Conservatives and progressives both have an interest in making sure we all set policy on the same facts.
Okay, this is the challenge:
Whatever industry you're in, or have practical insights on, seek and find ONE rage farmer that regularly warps facts to drum up hate and engage. Reply to their posts, set the record straight from your perspective. Commit to doing this once a day, a week, a month, whatever you can handle. That's it.
This isn't easy. You will be attacked. You will be demeaned, called nasty childish things. Know that this is the virus protecting itself. People who have been trapped in self sealing conspiracies have invested a lot in them and are so certain of the info they have seen that they can justify some pretty mean behaviour. Don't take it personal.
"This isn't about determining what's true. This is about making sure folks have contrary views online when they check out a rage farmer's post."
Why This is So Important
You know how during elections we see signs for candidates everywhere, on lawns and in ditches? Have you ever said, "Wow, such and such is doing good around here," based on seeing so many of their signs? That's how our brains work. If you don't see opposition than there is more credence given to the information displayed and we all want to be on the winning side.
Without strong opposition misinformation propagates and as more people get invested in that misinformation they are less likely to change their minds, not matter what the conspiracy. They build community, support networks, some even build businesses. Mostly though their pride makes it nearly impossible to back away. The humility required to backtrack on years of overt conviction pushes most brains into a rationalization spiral. To them facts no longer matter and the rage farmers themselves, who have a vested interest in keeping folks locked in, will spin any new facts to fit the conspiracy.
Info spirals can be on the extreme left or the extreme right. All it requires is shameless lies and liars.
Who Are Rage Farmers
Though some rage farmers are true believers themselves, I've come to believe that most KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Sociopathy is real and the benefits of rage farming can be large.
Influencers with many thousands of followers have a lot of clout and can sell that influence to folks who want to mobilize their audience into buying or acting, how they want.
Though it's hard for most of us to understand, shameless lying is prevalent in these spaces. There is no accountability and little downside. How many phishing emails trying to trick you into clicking a link do you get? How many phone calls where they try to trick you into taking some action based off a surprise situation? Scammers are everywhere online and the most sophisticated of them can make a good living keeping good folk on the hook.
This challenge is needed because too often folks around the political center have thought that sanity would naturally win over and conspiracies could never overtake what are obvious and self evident truths.
I'm here to tell you that that's not the case anymore and the threat of serious civil strife is growing quickly.
It is more important than ever for every citizen in the fields where they KNOW the truth to become active and make sure SOMEONE is out there posting it in the places where it matters the most. Where the liars are.
Good folk stumbling into these accounts don't need a ton of content to sway their darkest fears, and keep them from being swept up by lies, they just need to know an alternative view does exist and that believing it doesn't make THEM crazy. I encourage all my fellow citizens, in democratic countries around the world, be that someone where ever you can.
Take the "Bring The Blight" challenge.
Thank you for reading.
Bryan Bakker - Conspiracy Crush
on X @BKBakker
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