Stephen Fahey: A certain President.

Only a few years ago the election of a certain president, who ran against a certain Hillary, was marred by the interference of „internet trolls” from the other side of the world. We now know that this was largely achieved by the disruptive actions of said trolls on social media. They created hundreds of fake identities, many hundreds of thousands of memes and fake groups on social media channels and built up a following of millions of people over a number of years which eventually generated a tidal wave of infighting among much of the population of that country.

From what the data is telling us, they were not attempting to ensure the election of one person over a certain Hillary. Their interference in the election was only 11% of the total actions that they undertook. Their mission was to sow disruption wherever they could. And because the election was underway during that time it was influenced by proxy.

The fact is, regardless of the president, or of a certain Hillary, or of a certain man in a certain square that is red, or even of what you or I think about that whole fiasco, the pudding is now officially stuffed full of proof. We have now witnessed the power of social media at its worst, warping public opinion. Of course, PsyOps have been in existence since the dawn of time. But to date it has been used to mislead enemies in order to gain advantage.

But what if it was used for good? What if positivity is sown on a massive scale, until we see the good inside us and all around us? What if we lift a rock and it is there? There is first a threshold we would need to pass in order to do this. That threshold is our innate negative bias, which clings to use from having evolved to be suspicious of one another and of lightening and of rustling bushes. It’s why we got this far (albeit by swimming up rivers of blood). But it won’t just go away by itself. We aren’t outgrowing it. We would need to put it away, like so many childish things. We would need to consciously remove it. And so far nothing has worked.

However, at long last technology offers us the ability to shed this once necessary, admittedly useful, but heinously expensive devise from our society. Yes, there are lunatics out there. Yes, there are greedy folk who will take advantage of others. Yes, there are dangers to standing up and being counted. And yes, there will a period of adjustment wherein we will be vulnerable. But when we learned to walk as toddlers we fell on our faces more often than we succeeded, until we succeeded.

Rather than posting nothing other than holiday snaps and campaigns to sign petitions regarding horrific injustices (the latter of which, by the way, would carry inexorably greater weight if not posted at or above the saturation rate), on our social media, if instead we seek out strange new and positive stories that go against humanity’s innate negative bias (none of which would include trading in jealousy or signalling one’s virtue) then we would begin to fight back against the tidal smog of external influences. We would free not only ourselves, but each other.

We’ve all seen a „news story” go viral. We know that feeling. When a certain cathedral that (if we’re being honest with ourselves most of us hadn’t even thought about in months or years or decades) burned down this year we were saturated with „stories” about it, we all felt something. That something is the power. Whatever form it takes (whether that’s a tunnel in Paris or a pair of towers or one small step or one giant leap) we all know that that power exists. On that, at least, we all already agree.

But what we don’t all seem to know is that we, yes, WE can wield that power. It’s as powerful as any atomic weapon (it’s actually more powerful, but that’s a discussion for another day). Why we don’t know this is because the use of that super power has forever been the privilege of Chiefs and Kings and Presidents, but not a certain Hillary. Because we, the people, have never held that power before we’ve never realised that in the rectangular devices in the pockets of all of us there is the power to join and overcome even or own barbaric natures. In fact, if one of you were to spend five minutes right now and set up a group on social media that promoted the greater good under the principles outlined above, you would already wield more power that a certain president.

Stephen Fahey

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