President Trump Is Already Building A Wall

And Everyone Is Are Paying The Price

President Trump campaigned on the promise that he’s build a wall, and he’s keeping true to his promise. It’s just not the same wall you’re thinking of. Before you rush to the store to buy poster boards and enough markers to be considered a shareholder in the Avery Dennison Corporation, consider that this wall is much closer than the Mexico border, and you may have been the catalyst to building it. Want to know why?

You don’t see it my way? You’re fired!

In my previous blog “You like cake? So do I!”, I explained that “As human beings, we thrive in communities. It’s where we find validation in our thoughts, and a comfort that fosters trust.” (Johnson, 2017). In phycological terms, this is referred to as homophily. Social media is a massive community that fosters homophily. It satisfies our need to feel connected to others, and validated in our interests and views, but what happens when our ideals are challenged within these communities? Polarization happens.

“All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

I don’t like being wrong, and I’m betting you don’t either. The funny thing is, our brains are wired this way. It’s called cognitive bias. “Cognitive bias is a limitation in objective thinking that is caused by the tendency for the human brain to perceive information through a filter of personal experience and preferences.” (TechTarget, 2017) The problem is, the power of algorithms in social media will feed in to this tendency. Algorithms don’t commonly have malicious intent, they’re just there to provide you information based on your social media habits. We like validation, we feel secure when we have information to support our position, even if it’s misinformation, or outright propaganda. So, what happens when cognitive bias meets passion and emotion? You lay the foundation, brick by brick. We all know someone that either unfriended, or outright blocked a good friend on social media over their political views. Before you know it, the damage is done, and the wall is built. People are hurt, feel abandoned, and can look for ways to act on it. This can lead to anger, cruelty, and sadly even suicide.

“Google’ is not a synonym for ‘research’.”

How do we counter ignorance caused by cognitive bias? We research! We open our minds to new positions, new ideas, even if we don’t like them. User a checklist to vet your research, challenge your stance, and even debate with yourself. In short, trust, but verify. Understand the concepts of misinformation, propaganda, and fake-news, and apply this knowledge, fighting the urge to jump to conclusion. When emotions run high, set down your trowel before you build a wall that separates you from someone you care about, and hurting them (and you) in ways that can never be righted. President Trump hasn’t built a wall, but the information around the web has led to a divide, allowing others to do it for him.

References

Johnson, M. (2017, April 27). You Like Cake? So Do I!, Understanding Homophily In Social Media. Retrieved from Medium.com: https://medium.com/@mjohnson251/you-like-cake-so-do-i-8b2466da942c

TechTarget. (2017, Feb 28). Cognitive Bias. Retrieved from TechTarget: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/cognitive-bias