Erin's Journals

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Just a thought… Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse. [Sophocles]

As always, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

It’s been a heavy week – as we’re still trying to come to terms with the pain of Canada’s Indigenous people and what we can do to help, there’s this horrific hate crime in London, Ontario. Four family members, three generations, wiped out while enjoying a walk on a sultry spring evening. A boy left without his family. For some – for me – it’s hard to make this make sense. Any of it. The cruelty of it all.

I do have a few thoughts that just keep coming to the forefront of my mind. If you have seen The Social Dilemma, you’ll understand; if you haven’t – it came out last September on Netflix and this documentary about social media and its reach is mind blowing.

I didn’t want to watch it at first, because I like my social media, thank you very much! Love Twitter and, yes, Facebook or Instagram, through which many folks are finding this journal today. Thank you. So I didn’t want this doc to ruin my fun – and fortunately, it hasn’t. It’s been enlightening. I can decide how much I let it in.

As a parent, grandparent, whoever you are, I’m going to urge you to watch this, not as a fun vampire – like I’m not going to say, “You’ve got to give up this or that…” – but to know what’s happening.

Take, for instance, that crazy uncle you have who keeps spewing this unbelievable BS about vaccines or magnetism or flat earth or deep state or whatever? And then says, “Well, I like to keep informed.” Yeah. There’s a very good chance that, a while back, he was sent a story about, say, flat earth (good band name, bad science) and decided to read it. Then clicked to read more.

All of a sudden, he gets a trickle and then a flood of stories coming in to him that feed the same whacky narrative. And there it is. He’s surrounded by like-minded people all reading and repeating the same insanity.

This was the true eye-opener for me about The Social Dilemma. I suddenly understand how people, who get the same access to newspaper feeds and information as I do, could believe such bat shit crazy nonsense. Because that is what they’re being fed. It’s how some 70% of Republicans believe that their guy won the presidential election. Because it’s what their little BS bubble is telling them.

I’m not for a moment going to give the murderous driver of that pickup truck in London the benefit of the doubt, any doubt, or say “There, there, the internet made him do it.” But instead of saying how much hatred he had to be raised around in his home, maybe take a good hard look at his social feeds: what has been raised around him, what he was surrounded by.

And then, ask who in YOUR life might you have a talk with. Too awkward? Sit with them and watch The Social Dilemma. Especially if you’re a parent. You need to know what’s coming at your kids. It really is well done – entertaining even – and I’m not trying to sound an alarm; just think of it as a poke (which isn’t a thing on FB anymore, but you get my drift).

I’ll be back with you on Monday and thanks for coming by this week.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, June 10, 2021