From curated social media feeds to fake news, the Internet has given rise to manipulated information and altered states of reality. We all have different perceptions of how we see and hear the world.
‘The Dress’ is just one example; in 2015 a photograph became a viral sensation when viewers disagreed over whether the dress was colored white and gold or black and blue.
At Social Media Week London 2018, Webby Awards CEO, David-Michel Davies presented the positive and negative impacts of granting the Internet the power to inform all of our decisions. He titled his talk ‘Everything you think is true’, taken from their 2006lifetime achievement award winner, Prince, and his 5-word acceptance speech as a great way of thinking about what’s happening on the internet right now; the internet fragments our reality in a way that’s not always bad.
Living in a post-truth world
We spend hours on the internet every day and we are bombarded with information from sources far at wide; sources that are fragmented and disconnected. We also rely on devices to interpret our world.
To highlight how we are now living in a post-truth world Davies quoted Donald Trump; “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s really happening.
Unfortunately, fake news travels fast… like ‘plane bae’, a viral romance story based on two people who switched seats on a flight from New York City to Dallas. < https://www.vox.com/2018/7/6/17537656/plane-bae-privacy-explained>
Davies argued that the tools that are making it harder to tell fact from fiction also hold the keys to a more prosperous, fair, equitable future: one where “reality” adapts to meet individual needs — think: voice-enabled companionship, specialized education through AR, VR-based therapies, and far beyond. These are good uses of technologies.
Pop Your Bubble
Increasing empathy and understanding is one way to get real. Davies referred to the KIND Foundations ‘Pop Your Bubble’ experiment, launched after learning that only 5% of people see social media posts that differ greatly from their worldview. The tool connected Facebook users with people who were different than them.
We still like fun things
Davies closed his session with a reminder that we still look for entertainment value from the internet, to give us great experiences.
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