Where is groupthink taking us?

Discussion in 'IntroSpectrum' started by Riz, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. Riz

    Riz Well-Known Member

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    It's a long, sprawling read that touches on a number of subjects, but well worth it IMO.

    It takes this individual story and uses it to question what effect the internet is having on us all. Read the rest here: Life after a Twitterstorm
    test
  2. tequila togorgeous

    tequila togorgeous New Member

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    Maybe it's my frame of reference - I have no direct experience of society prior to the internet - but this type of article always strike me as enormously overblown. The internet has provided a new medium through which age old social dynamics unfold, but though they unfold in a far larger way, I cant see that this quantitative difference has produced much of qualitative difference nor can I see why it should.

    Take the brief passage when he talks about how the impersonal nature of the internet makes us liable to act in ways we wouldn't in person. That's certainly true but it's just as true of phonecall or a letter. The realities of life which produce the difference in all cases havent been diminished by the internet. In person people are still want to blush, laugh, cry, and punch each other in the face. Given these stubborn, glaring and important differences why would we expect, as the writer seems to fear may happen, the way we conduct ourself on the internet to have a corrosive effect of how we conduct ourself in 'real life'?

    And why would the internet produce more tribalism? You can, if you like, make a walled garden of the internet, only conversing with 'your' people and only reading 'your' writers and only consuming 'your' news media, but you could just as easily do that without the internet. What the internet has made easier is acquiring knowledge and access to a vast number of differing outlooks. On net that seems detrimental to tribalism, not a boon for it.
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  3. Nu'maaN

    Nu'maaN Anu'naki, Nuqqa.

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    it is pretty long, only got quarter way down, will continue later.

    this is true, we have gotten used to it pretty quickly.

    will read the rest later, seems interesting.

    :numaan:
    test
  4. Riz

    Riz Well-Known Member

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    The reason why it could is because our lives are getting more and more integrated with the internet.

    I would compare it to something like the technological developments in travel. Humans have always travelled around, so when the car was developed you could say "although a car will allow your travels to unfold in a larger way, I can't see what real differences it will produce" (and likewise for aeroplanes). But I don't think many people would disagree that advances in travel have massively shifted global dynamics and behaviour.

    As neuropsychology develops to integrate technology into the brain more and more, I can't see how there isn't at least the potential for it to create "qualitative differences".

    Not really. A phonecall is certainly more social and interpersonal than an email. If you asked a group of people how they'd prefer to make an angry complaint to a shop, I bet the majority would say email > phonecall > in person. A letter doesn't allow an immediate response/feedback and doesn't lend itself well to group behaviour.

    As I touched on in my first line, the more the internet is integrated with our every day life the more likely the "largening" effects of the internet are to influence our every day life. There have always been angry mobs, but as with all technology the internet improves the effeciency and power of modern angry mobs.

    I don't think the idea is that the internet is going to change 'human nature' (whatever that is). If you look at something like the famous Milgram experiment, the important point wasn't so much that people obey authority (which is obvious to everyone) but that certain conditions are more likely to increase that obedience (the instructor wearing an authoritative uniform, not being able to directly see the people you're inflicting pain on, etc). And so I think the questions is: what if the internet provides certain conditions to induce certain behaviour? What I liked about this article is that it suggests the obedience won't be driven by a central authority, but by people who think they're acting as free individuals but are actually the head and tail.

    So, again, moral outrages and groupthinking are nothing new, but as you seem to suggest yourself the internet is a kind of amplifier. I think it's important to always question the behaviour of groups, and so it must be even more important to look at something that intensifies group behaviour.

    Yeah, and just as the monk who lives in isolation doesn't really tell us much about society as a whole, the same is true of the example you just gave. The fact is most people do consume the internet in a roughly homogenized manner.

    And, to be fair, he addresses the potential positives in the article and I don't think anyone would deny them. But here's a question for you. Public libraries made "acquiring knowledge and access to a vast number of differing outlooks" easier, but how well have they generally been used by the public?
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  5. Look im Gangsta

    Look im Gangsta New Member

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    For good or evil, information has been used by a minority to manipulate and police the majority. Hasn't it?

    People seem to parade the accessibility of information as a maturing influence of society. I can't say I see it. I see more accountability and a better way to prescribe and police an updated morality.

    But let a taxi driver get a facebook account and he's still making a fan page calling for 'Paki peados' to be publically hung. Janet next door is still clicking 'Like' because she's a mother. etc.

    That's before you throw in anonymity.

    I don't know, I've not really sat down and given it much thought, but this idea that the majority is better off now we have the internet is stupid. Idiots is idiots dawg.
    test
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