Why is Social Media So Toxic? (& Why the Media Wants You Angry)
Why is Social Media So Toxic? Well because the prevailing currency of modern media is outrage and social media is at the epicentre.
While ostensibly this outrage is all about righteous indignation at the issues of the day, the reality is that by making viewers angry, people get emotionally invested in news cycles, which keeps ratings up and advertisers happy.
As well as keeping people engaged, in an age of intellectual incuriosity, having a firm shouty opinion makes you look well-informed and passionate, and if someone challenges you, it is very easy to return to more outrage and ad hominem to keep any challenge away.
This social phenomenon has a huge impact on the populace, as if you can be made emotional, you can be easily manipulated.
The process tends to go like this:
- News story is released which fits a current topic of outrage
- People then vent their fury on social media, seeking validation for having the ‘right’ opinions and argue with those that don’t share their views, and then they seek more bias news to back up their own position
At the end of this process, a person isn’t just emotionally invested, but also egoically invested, with a certain argument forming a key part of how they see they’re identity in the world.
At this point, a person becomes predictable to online algorithms that start to dictate what news and adverts to market to you.
Worse still, it’s all too easy to become incapable of hearing differing points of view in this state, as once you’ve become too invested in one position, it becomes personally offensive when someone simply disagrees with you.
Why is Social Media So Toxic? Echo Chambers…
Instead of noting how we’re falling into a trap, many folks seem to think the exact opposite is happening, and that by riding the next wave of media-confected outrage, they are actually more aware than most people, especially with regard to social and cultural issues.
Yet there is one simple marker to see if someone is acting logically and without bias, and that is, are they acting from a foundation of peace?
This is so vital because it shows that someone is invested in something deeper than concocted faux moral outrage or egocentric ideological presuppositions.
In turn, this energy stems from having your attention correctly focused within, rather than on the drama and outrage of the world.
Why is Social Media So Toxic? Escaping the Matrix
In order to stay balanced in stormy times full of manipulation and spin, men need to build a foundation of meaning, peace and personal responsibility within, as the external world cannot provide the justice, purpose and contentment people are looking for.
This notion of becoming aware of your focus is an ancient spiritual truth as represented by the third eye or the Eye of Horus, and it means that all-seeing awareness is what the world is.
Yet if this awareness can be narrowed down as it is by modern media, we’re limited to a mere glimpse of true reality, and this is why today we’re in an attention economy.
Now one could argue this began with television and the mass media, yet in our digital age this has become even more prevalent.
YouTube, smartphones and iPads are full of videos, apps and all manner of tricks to keep you watching, while companies scramble to keep you focused on their branding, not their competitors.
Why? Because what we focus on is what we become and when we are focusing on news networks, ideologues and social media all day, we become the offspring of the puppet masters behind these spheres of influence.
Finally, this will begin to influence how you see other people, defining them by value of their external characteristics and whether they’re in the in or the out crowd.
This is exactly why we must take back our attention and focus it on the stillness within.
Why is Social Media So Toxic? Going Within, Becoming Free
Going within is no act of solipsism or nihilism, but an act of recognising that the energy within is the great leveller, it is where we face our demons before projecting them into the world, it is where we find our true self within and it is where we find the unity between all men beyond differences of the mind.
Neither is this to say that you shouldn’t care about issues in the world, we all have our personal beliefs – it is to say that we shouldn’t be so easily led by the world of drama and outrage; that we should be able to see past emotionality in the search for deeper truth and the right course of action.
This is the essence of what a man offers the world – stoic wisdom, strength through the storms of life and balance in the face of dysfunction.
This is why your self-mastery is needed more than ever, you must realise that your innate power as an integrated man is to bring that energy of order to the chaos of the world.
If you enjoyed this piece on Why Is Social Media So Toxic? and would like to develop more on your journey towards self-realisation, why not check out the 9-Step Path of Initiation From Recovering Man, there’s a 5-minute intro for you just below: