Friday, January 06, 2017

Picture Gallery

My Facebook newsfeed contains a great number of posts on Donald Trump.  A high percentage of my friends share the same opinion about our incoming President.  As a result, my Facebook feed is the inevitable echo chamber – a place where the same voices are heard, the same opinions are expressed, the same articles and posts are shared.

This is not the public square, where diverse opinions and feelings are shared should be shared.  As with so many social media sites where we each pick and choose our own crowd, each Facebook site tends to be the electronic version of a selective tribe, only talking to each other.

There has already been plenty written about this phenomenon and the social/political impact of Facebook and similar digital sharing sites.  “Echo chamber” even made the annual Lake Superior State University list of banished words for 2017.

I recently noted another consequence of all this sharing:  my Facebook newsfeed is a continuous stream of Donald Trump pictures.

Every shared article leads off with Trump’s picture, so it is immediately used as the lead picture of a post.  Each flick of my finger on my phone or tablet results in a moving montage of the man’s face.  Flick fast enough, and I have a movie short. Rather disconcerting.

I’m sure the data mavens at Facebook have the numbers that demonstrate the most prevalent pictures of people that appear in any 24-hour period.

Imagine the resulting movie shorts if all my friends were focused on Darth Vader for a day? or Brad Pitt? or Queen Elizabeth? or Vladimir Putin? or Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting?  or a cat?

Whoops.  Stale meme.  Way too many cats on Facebook already.

1 comment:

Marge said...

Loved reading this, as it's exactly how I feel. But that's exactly the problem isn't it?'d want to know what someone who doesn't feel the same way would say.

My New Year's hope is that people would stop the cartoons, unattractive pictures of Trump, and flip comments etc. This is serious business, and I feel our focus should be intelligently, rationally watch-dogging. When one of Trump's minions is asked a question by one of the press,and waltzes around with no answer, the interviewer should,insist and insist. This may probably end up with them walking out, but the effort would have been made, and perhaps a precedent set.