We all have “frames” of reference that describe various life scenarios. When we walk into a restaurant we have a “frame” that pretty much explains how we expect the restaurant experience to go. We each carry around a lot of subconscious “frames” about how we think the world works. Effective propaganda messaging links to the frames we expect the target to already have. This is not all that surprising but what is old is now new again 🙂
Much media and social media messaging is about doom, gloom and outrage even though life is, on average, among the best of times in history. This creates a warped perspective where we only see the bad and miss all that is working well.
The Guardian announces that it requires their staff to use pejorative propaganda terminology rather than the facts of atmospheric CO2 levels rising, sea level ice and temperature changes, ice mass changes and so on. Anyone who does not 100% adopt The Guardian’s perspective is to be labeled a “denier” (name calling, transference from “Holocaust denier”, get on the bandwagon). The word “climate” should be associated with “crisis”, “emergency” or “heating” (transference, fear). Shrill terminology designed to inflame and create emotional outrage is a turn off and causes readers to tune out from the issues.
Social media’s structure (and goal) is to put us into a perpetual state of outrage: “The most visible and consequential form of compromised ‘daylight’ we see in the digital attention economy is the prevalence and centrality of moral outrage.”
Newspapers worldwide have agreed to jointly engage in a global Covering Climate Now project, where newspapers and other news outlets simultaneously use their advocacy journalism to persuade readers to take action on climate. This is indistinguishable from a global, coordinated propaganda operation and may back fire, turning people off from understanding and undertaking meaningful actions on climate issues.
The Guardian’s style guides says “climate change” is out and to be replaced by “climate crisis” and “climate emergency”. Both wordings were invented by the Guardian – “crisis” does not appear in the IPCC reports and “emergency” appears only in conjunction with “emergency medical services”. Increasingly dramatic reporting is backfiring and turning people off – a more effective strategy might be to report on the facts and logical arguments.
The noise level on Twitter greatly exceeds the signal, as their content has become overrun with meanness, falsehoods and outrage. This is not good for anyone’s mental health. I have no idea when or if I will log in again after the events of this past week.
Social media promoters know that “outrage” leads to more views. That’s why conspiracy theories and other outrageous content flourish on social media – because they are watched.
Social media is the new battleground. It’s being used to push people over the edge, to threaten violence against others, and in some cases, leading to actual violence. A controversial video clip that spread online in the past day was pushed by what appears to have been a fake account.
Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, has given a warning that the world has reached the “peak social” as days are numbered for big social network sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook which, he says, are near a saturation point. He has reasoned that more and more users are turning to private messaging apps. “I believe that we’ve hit peak social,” Ohanian was quoted as saying. “We’ve reached the ceiling.” Source: Are Facebook, WhatsApp running the last lap? Days…