Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lessons from Gilligan's Island and The Dawn of the Viral Cyber State

My brainwashing occurred not through social media, but on Channel 8 after school with Gilligan's Island reruns. There was one episode where the castaways could read each other's minds and it was not a good thing for their community. Too much awareness of each others' thoughts might be a problem for the global community, especially where it is propagated on a digital worldwide scale.

ISIS doesn't need a footprint or a capital. We can stomp the fuck out of them in Syria and Iraq and it won't be over. Even if that particular brand is discontinued, there will be another.

Through social media, this group and others can program and groom followers without any training camp, without personal recruitment, without having to even print out or distribute propaganda on pieces of paper. Such groups can instantly digitally clone all of their resources and reach anywhere on the planet- Bangladesh, Orlando, Indonesia, Nigeria, Paris, Brussels- places far away from any contested border or physical battleground. Loony tune copycats such as the Orlando shooter will appear organically.

What I see when I open Facebook aside from vacation, pet, family and food pictures is a collection of memes, rants, essays and graphics all of which "mostly say hooray for our side." I believe with no factual basis whatever that the addictive properties of social media and the divisive culture and acts of emboldened hate groups of every flavor are not coincidental to each other. How many of us do not feel agitated and less peaceful after scrolling through the reams of political and issue-driven posts? Multiply that energy by a few billion and the pot lid starts jumping and bubbling and hissing.

If the viral cyber state is the problem, and the consequence of addictive social media, what's the solution? First, call it out; admit there's a connection between maybe little too much connectedness and bad things happening. I'm trying to look at more clouds and listen to more birds.