Renowned

Saw a Facebook post claiming “… a renowned psychologist believes that…” which made me curious. Such a psychologist ought to have thousands of academic journal citations. So, I looked up the name on Google Scholar and saw one to five. The most highly cited stuff was about metaphysical stuff that psychologists refute.

Roy F. Baumeister is what I would call a renowned psychologist. His motivation article has over 13,000 citations. His ego-depletion, which is where I know him, has almost 4,000. People know about his work and cite his in their own. That is renowned.

The thing that prompted this is clickbait pseudoscience bullshit. Calling the creator renowned is Appeal to Authority so probably quite effective.

Bullshit Curation

Saw something that looked clickbait-y and for once glad I clicked on it because I learned a new term I want to scream from the mountaintops: bullshit curation. Clickbait sounds almost respectable. One of my favorite recent terms I learned from Jon Stewart was “Bullshit Mountain.” It refers to the Orwellian spin of stories from political groups to make the terrible sound good for us or the good for us sound terrible. There stuff is an avalanche coming for us.

Bullshit Curation is more the spin of stories to get us to click on them and drive up advertising revenue.

Of course, since “ideology trumps facts” in an election year, all this bullshit curation is probably netting large profits.

This post is forewarning my friends about a term I’ll probably bring up often in random conversations.

RNC Convention Mishaps

Saw a probably clickbait title “Mishaps overshadow message at the Republican National Convention.” It got me thinking that this is probably another case of media attention hyperbole.

The media fixation story I recall was several years ago about child kidnappings. Every week it made national headlines about a child who disappeared or was taken by a parent. The amount of the occurrences had not significantly changed, but people were fooled into thinking that somehow there was an epidemic of kidnappings. Similarly, there was a summer where the media was all over every shark sighting, making it seem like there was a War On Humans by the shark community. Again, the numbers of attacks was about normal, it was just the attention that caused it to seem worse.

Right now, the fixation seems to be on the presidential election. Donald Trump especially draws the attention due to his “Don’t Care” attitude about everyone and everything. He makes a mistake which gets reported and then error corrects which also gets reported.

Which brings me back to the convention. Normally the convention gets some coverage. But, it feels like everyone is more invested in this one than normal. The Stop Trump campaign had a last ditch effort to block his nomination that was almost certainly going to fail, so I suspect some of the coverage was in hopes they might somehow make it more dramatic. But, all these news people have to justify the expense of sending them by coming up with… well… something. So mishaps that would be considered normal and maybe barely mentioned are all of a sudden “Yuuuuge!” It is okay, people. The Democratic National Convention will have its share of mishaps. I am sure the Don will make sure the media is aware of them so they get equal attention.

TED Talk: Don’t like clickbait? Don’t click

Fake clickbait like The Onion is good. ALWAYS click on The Onion. I don’t care if you dislike their fake news stories. I enjoy them. 🙂

The algorithms choose which stories we see. If you dislike what you see, then you need to change what you click. My Facebook feed? It is chock full of science, soccer, TED talks, baby photos, wedding photos, and of late Star Wars. I rather like my feed, but it took discipline not to send messages about my interest in fear mongering, gossip, and hate. Tough, I know. But the results were so worth it. I’m no longer thinking of declaring bankruptcy on Facebook.

As Twitter and other social media succumb to algorithms to display stories, apparently I am going to have to use the same discipline avoiding clickbait elsewhere. I wonder about the mental discipline required to achieve and maintain the Internet experience I desire. Hopefully, in achieving it, I develop good habits I can maintain.

Anyway, Sally Kohn discusses how to get the social media we want by being smart on what we click.