Fear and loathing in 140 characters

Moral rectitude doesn't work either, although it definitely sounds like it should
If you’re like me and regularly find yourself trapped in a room full of corporate drones (aka the Wednesday morning meeting), you may also begin to think that “expanding client interfaces to synergise profit vectors” is a perfectly normal discussion instead of the complete bollocks it actually is. This is the insidious nature of groupthink: it slowly erodes your ability to think critically and you end up being pulled along in the current of consensus. Woe betide the individual who dares to swim against the prevailing direction of the stream, for that wretch will be cast into the pit of non-team players!

A similar phenomenon occurs on Twitter. The hive mind has a low tolerance for dissident opinions. These are crushed with a brutal efficiency that would have given Stalin a raging boner. Regular Twitterers may be forgiven for believing that they are changing the world with the latest hashtag, but that’s to be expected from people who are active participants in an enormous virtual incarnation of the human centipede. The harsh reality is that most people don’t really care too deeply about today’s trending topic. Especially if it involves a Kardashian.

This can be illustrated with the following handy infographic* (and who doesn’t like infographics?):Totally not inspired by Attack on Titan

What this tells us that in a room containing a hundred people, one of them will be standing in the corner fulminating against the Bad Thing du jour. Of the 46 who are actually in a position to do something it, only four of them might be interested enough to pay attention. The rest may possibly catch the odd phrase here and there, but the majority will be too busy counting all the fucks they don’t give.

* Source material:
What do SA’s 24.9 mil internet users spend most of their time doing online?
What Twitter in South Africa looks like
IEC voter registration statistics

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11 thoughts on “Fear and loathing in 140 characters

  1. Too bad about the groupthink thing but, hey, we have bills to pay.

    About 18-months after Twitter started someone encouraged me to buy stock in it. I logged on, poked around, and decided it was a stupid idea that would never last. I never went on after that. How do you like THOSE apples?

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  2. i don’t tweeter, but am stuck in the quagmire of facebook. i like seeing pictures of my friends dogs, cats, and children (in that order). i like stalking people i don’t know. i like stalking people i DO know. i am trying very hard to learn how to filter out ‘outrage du jour’, which is difficult when we have a giant orange turnip, spewing stupidity like a gattling gun of ignorant bigotry, as a contender for president.

    everything you said about the drones? spot on. we still play ‘Bafflegab Corporate Bingo” when a particular blowhole is giving a presentation. It’s hard not to feel competitive – and i’ve had to restrain myself from shouting “Bingo” when he says the “synergy” word…

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  3. Good to have you back!

    I have long held the belief that humans need outrage as much as air water and the most basic of needs:wifi.

    Rawandian’s are outraged by mass murder. We are outraged by Jacob Zuma. Europians are outraged by too much sugar in their cooldrinks.

    We all need our daily fix.

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