You know what the most interesting thing about the #Dickileaks revelation is? The fact that social media has effectively managed to stifle it. Although the topics have changed in both Facebook and Twitter since I started looking at them last Friday, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that both sites’ trending feeds ignore the fact that the FBI — while looking at the computers seized from “Weiner the Pederast,” who is the estranged husband of “Huma the Muslim Brotherhood Scion,” who has long been surgically attached to “Hillary the Corrupt” — found a trove of political emails of the type Hillary was supposed to have turned over to the FBI and to Congress.
Here, see for yourself, by looking at screen grabs from this morning — there’s absolutely nothing about Hillary, Comey, Weiner, Abedin, or emails:
This eerie silence is not because no one is talking about those stories. Indeed, for about one hour on Saturday, Facebook included in its “Trending” bar a reference to 1 million people talking about Comey, which is a lot of people, but that trend quickly vanished and has not return. The inescapable conclusion is that this news void reflects the social media companies’ effort to ensure that they are not responsible for even more people talking about the inevitable result of Hillary’s self-serving behavior while Secretary of State.
Social Media shenanigans would be meaningless were modern Americans, who have more access to more data than any humans at any time in history, actually capable of sitting down and doing the heavy mental lifting required to understand just how appalling, illegal, and morally corrupt Hillary’s conduct has been. The sad reality, though, is that our new media’s financial incentives discourage deep analysis. Even those people who are trying to pay attention are getting hit by what one writer labels the “TL;DR” factor.
That “TL;DR” acronym stands for “too long; didn’t read,” which could be the motto for much of the internet. Chris Byrne explains how our culturally short attention span has worsened thanks to the internet’s economic incentive for low-word count (i.e., minimally analytical) articles with screaming headlines. This leaves Americans incapable of understanding, or even being interested in, complex issues (such as Hillary’s shenanigans):
You may have watched in dismay, as some of your favorite online writers published work, suddenly went from a few good posts a week, to 20 posts a day, most of it nothing but clickbait or damn near it?
Well… now you know why.
Their editors and publishers are making them write to maximize clicks and views and shares. Who cares about accuracy, depth, or insight… most people never read past the headline or first paragraph anyway right?
Long form news, analysis, essays, editorials, and commentary (and related background historical, scientific, and other detailed information and exposition pieces) have largely been replaced with tweets, teaser videos, memes, 200-350 word skim pieces; and lots and lots of 50 to 150 word bare blurbs, with inflammatory or otherwise emotionally manipulative …if not outright false… headlines, and lots of links to monetizing partner sites.
Basically, clickbait makes money, and everything else loses money, unless they have alternate monetization.
People have become accustomed to reading headlines and blurbs, and maybe at most 350 or 500 word pieces, no matter how important or complex the topic.
This in turn, has made readers unwilling to actually take the time and effort necessary, to read longer pieces, and properly inform themselves about even the most important issues, including those that impact them directly. 350 to 500 word pieces are thought “long” and 1000 word pieces get nothing but TL;DR.
1000 words is nothing. No subject of any import or complexity can be properly explained in 1000 words… and in today’s online market, 1000 words is considered a VERY LONG piece… With the norm having devolved all the way down to 500 words… and on many sites 350 words… or less.
As an example of this problem, I know that the SEO facilitator on my WordPress routinely denies me readability points because my posts constantly exceed 300 words — and I’m a dilettante and a gadfly when it comes to knowledgeable in-depth analysis. (This post, by the way, scored an “F” from the SEO facilitator because of its length.)
The end result the fact that people get bite-sized nuggets of often misleading information is sort-of reputable sites that give astonishingly ignorant articles pride of place. One example appears on a Boston public radio website: “The FBI’s Nothing Burger.” One would think that publicly funded public radio would have some minimal standards of factual integrity, but one would be wrong. I hope you’ll pardon me for “going long” here, but WBUR staff member Steve Almond’s post is such a pile-up of ignorance it deserves to be addressed.
To read more, please go here.
Photo by x61.com.ar