In the modern world, it is absolutely essential to make a habit out of questioning and fact-checking everything.
Our modern world is absolutely plagued with misinformation, conspiracy, information addiction, political divide, and gullibility that it is nearly impossible to distinguish the truth from falsehood.
At least at first glance.
The issue is that many people look at a headline and immediately discern that as absolute truth.
This is especially true since every single one of our social media feeds are personally configured to what we are most likely to click on, have an impression on, and be intrigued by.
We stand no chance. We are the product of the free social media platforms after all, being sold to advertisers.
It doesn’t matter if the information delivered to us on social media sites is true or not, is divisive or not, or is ethical or not.
The algorithm rules all and the algorithm’s only goal is to grab your attention at all costs based on the data collected on you left by your digital footprint over the entire timeline of whenever you first started using the internet.
As I said, when the algorithm puts information in front of you that you are psychologically most likely to click on, you stand no chance in making decisions of your own making it difficult to distinguish whether the information you see is of absolute truth or if it’s something that coincides with the “filter bubbles” that social media puts in place to present you with content that you are most likely to resonate with based on your pre-existing beliefs — not exactly what the truth or non-biased standpoint is.
You Are Victimized By The Media You Consume
There have been many times where I personally have fallen victim to the conspiratorial information that was delivered to me on social media, often leading me to believe all the information that was presented to me without question.
It was as if I never questioned a single thing and lived my life in a fog of what media has been telling me to know and think, rather than really thinking for myself and seeing the world for what it truly is.
Where has my mind gone?
I saw this almost immediately in others as well where friends and family were starting to believe absurd notions like 5G being able to cause cancer through ridiculous radioactive frequencies, the Earth being flat, COVID-19 being a government conspiracy or an intentional bio-weapon created by China, or their leftist political and societal opinions being definitively more correct than what the right-wingers are.
We are often baffled by the fact that other people aren’t seeing and reading the same information that we are seeing. That they don’t see the world in the same way that you do.
But that’s the issue, they aren’t seeing the same information as you.
Like I said before, the experience that is delivered to you through social media is definitively and uniquely your own.
No one is receiving or processing the same information.
When the information is being curated specifically for you, based on your geography, based on what you clicked on, based on what you spent time reading, based on what you are currently interested in, if you are just accepting all of that information blindly, tell me this — are you really thinking for yourself?
This, in part, causes so much delusion and divisiveness in the world through the contradictory and combative data that is spoon-fed into peoples’ minds, making it nearly impossible to know what the truth is if you fail to look beyond the moment that you decide to selectively consume that information.
There is only one solution to this.
Swallow The Red Pill
There has never existed a time in history where skepticism has become more important than now.
When nothing that is served to you is guaranteed as true, it is of the utmost importance that you question and fact-check everything.
Once I started actively trying to find the truth and dug intentionally for the real answers, I slowly saw my perspective of the world begin to shift and flower into something substantially better.
- I started seeing the oversaturated amount of BS that our world has to deal with.
- I started seeing the drawbacks of my naivety — how sharing content I truly didn’t know about, verbally and virtually, with others was infecting the minds of my friends and family with potentially incorrect information, thus feeding the fiery spread of misinformation.
- I started to learn more, to see more, and understand more.
- I stopped jumping to conclusions about things that I either didn’t understand or was actually impossible to know.
- It had forced me to see things in a more clear, detailed, and objective way, in turn making the world more beautiful and interesting.
Overall, it had transformed me into someone who can see beyond the tip of the iceberg — into its depths — and actively aim to understand the misunderstood or the unknown. I became the most curious and active learner that I know.
All it takes is a simple google search, intentionally trying to identify the consistencies/inconsistencies between what is said about a topic, looking at the different biases, searching for the existing facts, (most importantly) looking at the credibility of your sources, and then compiling all that information into your mind to form a reasonable conclusion or position.
The habit of questioning and searching for the answers will foster a curiosity inside of you that will drive you to explore new and various things to your benefit, potentially providing you with passionate interests you’d be interested in diving deeper into. I know it did that for me.
It’s Not All That Bad
This isn’t to say that you should stop using or supporting social media, because even as a software engineer who understands the entire process behind how these platforms work, I still love the joy that social media can provide.
I love (almost) everything that it has to offer from instant connectivity with all the people I’ve crossed paths with over the years all the way to funny and interesting videos I didn’t know I wanted to see.
Social media provides a very unique and enjoyable experience allowing you to discover and learn more than any other person in history. What you need to be wary of are the cautionary dangers that it presents that, if you allow it, can control the way you think and the way you behave.
It’s very easy to fall victim to the amount of misinformation and polarizing bias that can be presented to you on there.
Just remember — when you are presented with any type of information that you personally decide to consume, it’s always best to move beyond that initial read and start sifting through other sources of information out there that reinforces or refutes what you just consumed.
That way, whatever it is that you absorb into your mind, you know it to be the actual truth.