#130: Negativity On Social, Charisma & Resilience
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##1 Social Media Asymmetry
Frank Chimero on the asymmetry of positive versus negative signals online:
The arrangement is even worse on Twitter. Liking stays attached to the original tweet and makes most positive interactions static. Negative reactions must be written as tweets, creating more material for the machine. These negative tweets can spread through retweets and further replies. This means negativity grows in number and presence, because most positivity on the service is silent and immobilized.
This still seems fundamentally broken for the internet as many are waking up to. Part of it is our confusion between different operating models (individuals = trying out ideas; media = tribe viewpoint; random shitposters = making chaos), but based on many of the positive interactions I’ve seen in small pockets of the internet, I do have some hope.
+Also love this article by Frank titled The Good Room (a must read)
#2 Charisma Neutrality
Interesting line of thinking about what the future of the internet could look like:
The cynical, anti-charismatic whispering on the margins becomes the main act, and the charismatic posturing in the center becomes a sideshow…..
This means at some point it actually becomes easier and cheaper to simply talk to the thoughtful people rather than browbeating them with charisma.
What is the difference between people that respond positively to stress versus ones who don’t?
Seligman found that training people to change their explanatory styles from internal to external (“Bad events aren’t my fault”), from global to specific (“This is one narrow thing rather than a massive indication that something is wrong with my life”), and from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression.
#4 Life Advice
This letter offering advice from Hunter S. Thompson is impressive mostly because of his age (he was 22) and that it reminded me that we often forget the second part of this famous Shakespeare line:
“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ”
I enjoyed this part of the letter:
And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect— between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.
But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?
#5 The State of Universities
Heterodox Academy finds that students are not the direct cause of the current climate at elite universities:
As HxA co-founder Jonathan Haidt explained in Coddling of the American Mind and elsewhere, when he began his advocacy for viewpoint diversity, open inquiry and constructive disagreement, he thought it was the universities – faculty and administrators – who were proliferating the mindset he describes as ‘safetyism’ among students.
However, as he continued to study the issue, he realized that he had the dynamics backward: students from more privileged backgrounds were coming into (elite) universities with these ideas and expectations already well-entrenched, and were often demanding conformity from university leadership and administration.
They faced little resistance in an institutional environment where students are increasingly viewed as ‘consumers,’ and these customers are held to be ‘the boss.’
Interesting article showing how many of the “new” trends were really phenomenon that have existed for decades if not longer. The article is an interesting attempt to make sense of how Universities (especially elite ones) are changing and what is all means.
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