Social Media has convinced us to trust tabloid writing. Who’s profiting?

So you’re at the grocery store, waiting to checkout.  Your eyes glaze over and drift to the fifteen or so magazines specifically designed to grab your attention, right above the candy.  You read the headlines: Batboy got married, Oprah murdered a man in 1993, etc.  You read these things, and you know they’re bullshit, because you understand why these rags are there at the checkout: It’s the only way they might accidentally get bought.  They’re just exciting enough that you pick up the National Enquirer and throw it in the cart.

Facebook is a lot like that.  Except, instead of buying groceries you’re trying to look at pictures of what your friends made for dinner.  As you’re scrolling down, the tabloids are fully represented- only, it’s not as obvious, because its your friends sharing the batboy nonsense of the world, and they’re not really aware of it.  Maybe they saw a friend of theirs share it first?  Maybe they thought it was funny or ridiculous? Who knows!  Either way, your friend shared it and now you’re seeing it.  And slowly but surely, you start to believe there’s a government plot to poison you with chemtrails.  This is called cognitive fluency, which means “what is familiar, is true.”  Repetition is persuasive, especially when it comes from someone we trust.

When our friends tell us things we’re inclined to believe what they say.  After all, if they’re wrong about something, that’s a reflection of ourselves- Why would we associate with people that are wrong about things?  But, we do.  I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been wrong plenty of times.

The point of this post is we need to start actively engaging with Social Media differently.  Too often we let our guard down and before long we’re “questioning everything”, except for where the information is coming from, and who the information is best serving.

The most exciting stories are the ones we cling to.  Just think about how exciting of a movie the Anti Monsanto stuff would be:  An international conspiracy amongst biotech corporations, designed to poison our children and keep us stupid, has backfired!  The people have risen up, and discovered their dastardly deeds!  Now, a small band of rebels fights to take back society! And you’re the star!

Meanwhile, grocers like Whole Foods profit.  Whole foods is more profitable than 85% of other grocers, with one of the highest profit margins in grocery.  Fear is currency.  Take it from Eugene Schwartz, a Social Media advertising guru.

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