What If The Panic Over Social Media Is Excessive?
In his new book Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Facebook and the Future, Robby Soave questioned the common wisdom of saying that social media represents an unprecedented threat to the well-being of America’s youth.
“I think there’s a lot of panic about social media that isn’t commensurate with the actual damage,” Soave said in Episode 488 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast “A lot of it is hyperbole; a lot of it is too much.”
He said the current outrage on social media is reminiscent of the way politicians talk about the likes of video games. DESTRUCTION and Mortal Kombat back in the ’90s. “Everything that was said about video games 20 years ago turned out to be untrue – they didn’t promote violence, they didn’t make young men shooters in school,” he said. “And maybe 10 or 20 years from now we’ll look at this moral horror in a similar way.”
Much has been made of the power of algorithms developed by Facebook and Google, which Soave said recalls previous panics over the dangers of subliminal advertising. “I like that when I’m on Facebook, I get it [ads for] Dungeons & Dragons merchandise rather than commercials for cars, ”he said. “If I watch TV, I get commercials for cars. I wouldn’t buy a car. It has nothing to do with me. I wish I could move forward through them. On Facebook I see things I might like. That’s a good thing. ”
Tech companies are blazing from the full color of politics, with everyone from Donald Trump and Senator Josh Hawley to President Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren calling for new regulations. Soave said it would be a big mistake to allow politicians to use more power in one of America’s newest industries. “Maybe for a lot of people, they’ll go, ‘Well, if everyone in government wants it, that means it’s right,’ while I go the other way – if everyone wants it, it’s definitely bad,” as he said.
Listen to the full interview with Robby Soave in Episode 488 on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
Robby Soave sa Dungeons & Dragons:
“I really am now [dungeon mastering] two groups, and I played a third, even if one ended up and I thought they would take my character to a different group. So there is a lot of overlap between my different worlds and characters. Very happy… Because I am writing for a libertarian magazine, my main group is very libertarian in style of play. The other group repaired a side on the right. The main difference I noticed is that the group that is more right-wing wants to fight and kill everyone they meet, and kill the characters I know, while the libertarians want to say their way – or exchange things – in each case. They avoid fighting at all costs. ”
Robby Soave on cultural cancellation:
“I’ve written a lot about cases that people call‘ canceling the culture, ’of people being attacked or criticized for writing something or doing something that might be insensitive or offensive to some. way, but they didn’t kill someone — it wasn’t the end of their lives… It’s very strange, especially for the progressive remnant, who have always believed in criminal justice reform, which is something I support – the idea that people who are incarcerated should live a normal life, and they should also get jobs, and you don’t have to ask them about their incarceration status – you will be forgiven.Which I generally agree with, but someone said something might be executed at the age of 15, and you saw the tweet, they don’t have to work again? It doesn’t make sense to me. ”
Robby Soave in the media:
“The real villain in my book is the real mainstream media and The New York Times in particular… You can go back in time, and with every invention, especially the communication space, you will find them completely panicking about it… The New York Times, in newspapers, as a competitor. ”
Robby Soave of Silicon Valley:
“Silicon Valley culture has become unpopular with innovation, and it has driven people away. [California]. My point in bringing that up is, we’re not going to repeat it nationally. The anti-tech rhetoric coming from everyone in Congress is very complete. They now treat social media like Big Tobacco – we’ve always heard that. But Big Tobacco has killed millions of people, and despite the most serious accusations against Instagram, no one thinks it has killed hundreds of people. So this is a ridiculous comparison. This kind of anti-tech sentiment kneels from lawmakers and legislators poorly serving our country, poorly serving our society, and poorly serving innovation. “