Social Media

Signal to Noise

Stop making stupid people famous, Banksy stenciles. “Data gets us the Kardashians,” blogs Seth Godin. Beat Trump at his own game, screams Leftsetz:

“Trump is Kanye. A guy most people hate but think everybody loves because he’s all over the news and constantly get a pass.”

America birthed soft power. It marketed Coca-Cola and Hollywood to spread its talons over the world. While the Internet “flattened” the world it also extended America’s cultural power. But now publishers and people looking for clicks are turning America into a tabloid.

It’s impossible to ignore the news about the Kardashians, Trump, and Kanye because it finds way into your social feeds. At least with magazines or newspapers, you can look at the cover and move on. With TV, you can change the channel. But now the same unworthy story is chopped into bite-sized headlines, video clips, and gifs on our tiny mobile screens. We’re bombarded with unwanted media.

Clicks drive attention which drives traffic which drives revenue for the content creators and social platforms which drives down the dumbness of everybody. Forget Facebook suppressing conservative news. How about cleaning up the noise, starting with a massive filter that gets rid of the fat. Sleep can’t be our only dishwasher.

But he who ridicules it also is to blame. Yes, this post merely adds to the buzz of the Internet famous. But it’s not more noise, it’s a signal. Let’s beat stupidity by reducing it to what it is: insignificance.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.