A story I found very fascinating: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/us/politics/russia-facebook-twitter-election.html
They used to call it web 2.0, like a whole new revolution of the internet. Sometimes people like to make declarations like this saying THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING but it doesn't really. So the complete revolution that would come from web 2.0 would have been something to be taken with a pinch of salt.
As it turns out, they were right and more. Social media didn't just revolutionise our internet lives, it has shapes the way we live our daily lives offline as well.
I mean yea, it's 2017, duh we know that. It's just that, occasionally I still here people talking about the horrors of social media and how it's a terrible thing and we should avoid and while it's true that social media has led to certain changes which may be perceived as non positive things, I think we just have to recognise it as change. A change that has come and you cannot run away from.
While most of us already know this in the back of our heads, I think this story really brought it to the front. When a political superpower decides that it's army of bots spewing propaganda on a foreign superpower's population is a new weapon on the level of the atomic bombs when they first came out, yea it's a big deal.
I mean when you think about it, it IS a pretty powerful weapon. If you theoretically had a special weapon that could cover an entry country and mind control 1% of random civilians in your enemy territory and have them do your bidding, that's a pretty crazy weapon. Not on the level of destruction and a huge bomb, but so potent in other ways.
The bot army isn't quite like that, but you can see the similarities. It just sounds a little absurd to think of social media (the land of memes) as a weapon (boom you're dead), but when you really think about the effects, you have to admit.
It's like a kitten you know, it looks cute but it's actually pretty deadly.
This is the world now and the rules have changed. For us, the question is what are going to do about this? Social media, like all forms of media and technology, is inherently neutral. What isn't neutral is the people wielding that weapon and we can decide how we want to use it.
It's probably cute to think of memes as a weapon, but it really is. A weapon of mass social influence.