Sunday, 9 August 2015

RT for Fav, Fav for RT

One of the favourite tricks of Twitter's rabble-rousers - sorry - opinion-formers is this kind of thing.

"Who is the better theologian?  RT for Moltman; Fav for Barth."

It looks like a kind-of-valid survey. You can see how many people have RTed and how many faved, instantly. It's a kind of instant democracy of the Internet, innit?

It's not, of course. It's a con. And the way it's a con comes down to one of Twitter's main functions, to echo our own views back to us from the right type of people.

See, if I'm a big Barth fan, and Hnaef tweets this into my time line, obviously I'm gonna Fav it. I mean. I am a free human with God-given thumbs. Of course I shall use the right to press the Fav icon.

But who sees that Fav? Not my followers who don't follow Hnaef. Not unless they follow me more closely than, frankly, I already do.

But if I RT it - all my followers will see it. And if they agree, they can RT it too. And all their followers will see it.

But if they don't agree with me, and Fav it - they're a dead end.

And because the sort of people who follow me are likely to have the same view of the great Moltman/Barth debate as me - then if we're on the RT side our RTs will also spread like a virus.

But if we're on the Fav side - nobody will ever know.

So it's a deliberate - or possibly accidental - form of social engineering in the great echo chamber of social media. Guaranteed to way the results the way you like - unless you are too dim to make the answer you want the RT.

I wouldn't want to ban these unbalanced straw polls. I'd just like to expand them. "RT for Barth. Fav for Moltman. Unfollow if you think this a piece of unbalanced, pointless groupthink and confirmation bias in an echo chamber.

Wouldn't see so many of these polls then.

They'd be over 140 characters, for a start.

1 comment :

  1. Yes, I've long thought that these polls were silly. Except on days when the RT option was the one I actually wanted.


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