Confirmation Bias

Posted the below on Jim Wright’s page. It ran a tad long. Some people seemed to like it. I thought I’d put it here as well.

If social media were the real world, Bernie Sanders would have won the primary election by so much that they would have simply called off the general and carried him into Washington by passing him from back to back, shoulder to shoulder. He would have literally crowd surfed into the capitol. And then his brown robed sparrows would have scourged Congress. After which they would make Hillary walk naked and barefoot through the country, while pelting her with dung.

If social media were the real world the two major parties would be the Greens and the Libertarians. But they would still only poll at about 4% each because 92% of the country are strong Independents with a capital I.

Then again if social media were the real world Donald Trump would simply co-opt the military, and with it at his back he would cross the Delaware to make his Triumphal March. The true believers would rise up from their chains in every crevice and holler and they would TAKE BACK their country! Take it back to when, I’m not sure. It looks like 1952, but 1852 might be more likely. The PureBlooded Americans would drive out the mud bloods to the furthest corners of the globe, and then build a wall! The best Wall! A wall forged of the elements, and as high as the truest believer’s heart flag will fly. The bad people would quail before our might and scuttle back where they belong. And if they still won’t behave? We’ll bomb them into the stone age. A stone age which is definitely no more than 6,000 years ago.

If social media were the real world, then Welcome to Nightvale would be a documentary.

If social media were the real world, the loudest people would not merely represent a tenth of a percent. They would each and every one of them represent an army. A multitude. Every campaign event would mirror the general population, and not be a self selecting skewed sample, making the participants believe that they are more popular than they actually are. Opinions traded back and forth in tiny closed bubbles would actually be fact. Reading it on the internet would actually make it true.

On social media, the loudest people comment on every post. And then comment on every comment. They say the same things over and over, and then comment on how popular their opinion is. They either only talk to people who agree with them, or those diametrically opposed. They think it is a debate when they state their opinions as fact until someone questions them. Then they either keep yelling the same things, or disengage and walk away, only to pop up elsewhere to repeat the performance. If social media were the real world, we would all live in walled communities of common opinion. Like a Neil Stephenson novel, only with more ideology and less pizza delivery.

But here is the thing. In the world of social media, those who are silent do not exist. And those that are loud exist in outsized measure. In the real world, most people don’t bother to argue. Most people have problems that concern them far more than social media political purity. They don’t go to rallies. They don’t answer the phone when the polls call. If they follow Jim, they mostly keep quiet as a mouse and watch it all go by. The loudest voices often do not represent them at all.

In the real world they all have exactly one vote.


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