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Social media with a grain of salt

August 18, 2016

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It has never been easier to spread panic. Social media may have ended solitude and isolation, but have also limited our capability to reflect on events or rethink other people’s emotions.

From the Salem witch hunt, to Orson Wells radio programme causing nationwide hysteria by making people believe in a Martian invasion of New Jersey, the history of panic outbreaks is both, rich and stunning. But what was once limited to a relatively small circle of friends and neighbours or a handful of media, the potential for panic to spread has proven to be much bigger with smartphones. Today we know emotions are transmitted not only by the word of mouth, but also via keyboard and through increased channels of communication, emotional contagion is becoming commonplace.

Twitter in particular proved to be a medium for emotional charged messages that go viral and may quickly trigger feelings in others. With the group thinking, however, there is little time to check facts or find explanations, so emotions can spiral fast. Scrolling should be done with a grain of salt at all times.

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From → Hic Salta

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