am in the creative process of designing a community project that will help
people to identify fake news. For the last 3 weeks, I have plunged in to the
vast ocean of social media in Sri Lanka in the light of constitutional crisis,
among other things.
struck me most is, fake people are more easier to identify than fake news. When
I digged into the sources of the news, I was able to judge more effectively.
people are the ones who create a persona that is larger than life. They do not
live by their broadcasted values. They jump on to any opportunity that come
their way. They show that they care through words.
you wonder why these fake people are been venerated by masses?
is, these fake people understand what the masses want. They give you something
to believe in. They play with the imagination of the masses. The masses fuel
that by giving them the attention and their power.
You may think I am talking about the politicians. Not just them. I am talking about fake people everywhere. Fake people in government, private sector, NGO’s,entertainment industry, clergy, academics, media institute owners, sports men and women, and the list is endless. I have encountered fake people in our families.
fake people create messages that speak to your heart. They steal your emotions.
They create a persona that seems invincible. They are actually not.
questions. Test their motives. Throw away blind fandom. Find that fake person
behind a fake news. Have a critical thinking mindset.
I wrote in this blog about fake news, how to decipher fake news and how to broaden our view of the world in an endless distracted content rich world.
Thameera asked me “why you need news at all?” and shared this post on how I can go newsless.
I thought it is not possible, because I thought I need to know what is happening.
But then I realised most of the news I consume is not healthy for my sanity and have nothing to do with my circle of influence. They are some manufactured pieces of stories to keep my attention from real stuff that I can make a change.
It was time for a strict diet.
- I unfollowed all media twitter accounts. Did same for Facebook media pages.
- There were friends who were sharing news content too frequently. I ‘muted’ them on twitter, and unfollowed on FB, so that their posts will not get on my feed. But I am still following them on twitter and still friends of Facebook. No hard feelings, just that I am on a strict diet for a while.
- Signed off from all news portals I have subscribed to.
It’s now 9 days. Here’s what has happened.
- I was used to check social media and click on links that ushered me to news sites early in my day. Now, because I am on strict diet, and I had to form a new habit, I turned to meditation early in the morning. I would get up, and meditate after a cup of tea. Mind was all over the place. But I knew how to sit still and just watch the breath, because I have been doing it for a long time. Yet somewhere down the line, that habit of meditating first thing in the morning, gathered dust. 30 minutes of meditation activated that habit, and I am so glad.
- Then I would write my journal to get my agitated thoughts out of my system, or if my thought process is refined, I would just open a word document and punch on keyboard to create a blog post. Just like this one. And you can see I am still not on internet. So that is 15 minutes of writing.
- Then my mind is settled and ready for work. I take the most important ( usually the hardest) task in my to do list and do it for 15 minutes. Usually it is a simple mind map to gather my thoughts, an email or a report. So, 15 minutes of the most important task.
- During the day in breaks between work, instead of social media snacks, now I consume books. Real books, not e-books. I finished reading a fiction. This was after a very long time, I mean, last time I completed a fiction in straight go was more than 2 years back. That felt really good.
I cannot explain the soothing peacefulness I experience, because it is simply beyond words.
So much gratitude to Thameera for sharing that article.
With internet democratising the knowledge space, why is it I’m finding ever so hard to believe in news I get ?
The world used to get joy from watching parody shows. It was not just laughter, but good education too on issues that mattered.
The real news is now parody like.
First, most of the actual news is absurd and puke worthy. Then Media giants make their recipe of click bait headlines. Then social media posts. Then parodies. Then parodies on parodies. Then more social media.
Fake news , fake facts spread like wildfire. The collateral damage of omnipresent social media accessibility.
In the morning I used to get my daily dose of news through Twitter and Facebook. I have given up on Twitter and Facebook as news sources. They are ( it’s actually us, our contributions make those news feeds ) now just about pushing things faster, more.
It’s absolutely excruciating to decipher facts.
So how to survive this madness ?
This is what I do now. Read more. Read more from different sources, like news.google.com, AJ+ and Vox.
I found, the more I read, the broader my understanding is, the more I’m open for different angles.
This post I wrote gives a philosophy to face fake news. Yet it seems fake news is now beyond individual attempts to decipher. Take a look at video below. After watching this video, take a deep breath and reflect on the next news you see. It’s a fake world out there. Be careful of what you consume.
Politicians know this well. Higher echelons of structured religions know this absolutely well. If you instil fear in the minds of a group ( religion, caste, race, nation etc) that others are not good, you gain control over the group.
Carefully analyse all wars, riots, spread of wealth, or inequality in this world, you’d find this equation visible in plain sight. But emotions of fear is more real than analysis of facts. That’s why fake news thrive.
It is a weapon used by a lazy lethargic influencing few to take control of the hard working majority. Why most of the politicians, if not all, in this country are heavily un educated and non-sensical, but come next election, they win ? It’s through careful pollination of fear of other groups.
A Uber driver recently told me he’s Tamil and happily married to a Sinhala lady.
‘How hard is it?’ I asked.
‘No problem sir, We don’t think of it as hard, We don’t think of what others think, but we don’t do any harm either’
Wow. I was stumped.
This is not a step by step guide. Here’s the philosophy to deal with fake news.
If you don’t read news you are uninformed. If you do read it, you are misinformed. ( This is a quote of Mark Twain, of course ).
So what do you do ? That’s a great question. What is the long term effect of too much information ? One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore. So what is the responsibility you all have ? To tell the truth. Not just to be first. We live in a society that is just.. it’s first, who cares, get it out there, we don’t care whom it hurts, we don’t care whom we destroy, we don’t care if it is true. Just say it. Sell it. Anything you practice, you get good at, including …..BS.
You heard me? Does that make sense?
And Who said these words? Denzel Washington.
I searched the web for this video’s transcript. Could not find it, hence I typed it. It’s totally worth it.