Social mob mentality must go

BY MIKE TURCOTTE

Social media has become probably one of the single most powerful and influential aspects of human interaction across the globe. Whether people use it to read about politics, inventions, discoveries, crime, or something in between, social media connects people, and shares information to the masses. However, social media is also a shining example of mob mentality, and it’s starting to get really annoying.

How many people reading this, have stood outside and physically protested against an issue they felt compassionate about? Probably few, but if I asked how many people have got up in arms on social media about things that bothered them, I bet the numbers would be staggeringly higher. But, more and more I’m noticing a trend where people who previously had shown no outward expression against something, let’s just say transgender rights, suddenly will become a, “social justice warrior.”

This term is being used to describe someone who participates or engages in protests or activism under the guise of conviction to the cause, but secretly (and maybe even subconsciously) does it to look better, cooler, or to be part of what is trendy.

Seriously, millennials are terrible for trends … I mean, trends have always been around, but with sites like Instagram and Pinterest showcasing images and trends, it feels like every month there is something new that everyone must have, or wear, or believe in.

This is fine when it’s simple things like fashion, but the problem really comes when this pattern is applied to politics and crime, in particular.

If something happens on a political level, such as the major sweep of movements and social change about genders, people are almost forced to conform to the opinions of the mob, lest they be viewed as an outsider to the pack.

This is normal animal behaviour essentially, and happens all the time in our day-to-day lives, but social media amplifies the numbers by the tens of thousands.

The other issue isn’t just the fear of being outcast by the pack, but simply the naivety of the few, becoming the problem of the masses. Fake news is spread like wildfire, with people believing it blindly because it seems like the right thing to do, and everyone else is.

Look at the whole Keaton Jones situation that circulated on social media. First, everyone supported him, raising tens of thousands of dollars in donations for him and his family. Major celebrities and sports stars met with him, etc. Then, suddenly information comes out about his family’s background, and the mob quickly changes their view, with everyone in an uproar.

It’s hilarious to watch the mindless masses run back and forth, but it’s also really starting to get annoying.
Let’s start a new trend in 2018: the minds of the world need to start thinking as individuals.

Dan Millman, author of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives, says, “Everyone tells you what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers. They want you to believe theirs.”

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Spoke Online is produced weekly during the school year by Conestoga College second-year journalism print students, faculty adviser Christina Jonas and new media technologist Michael Toll.