In 2016, Oxford Dictionary accorded “Post-truth” as the word of the year. The word is
now in the same category as 2015’s ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji—something that is ubiquitous and global. This came in the wake of elections and geo-political events marked by truth-twisting, personal attacks, and polarizing beliefs. According to the dictionary, post-truth means “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and
This is largely contributed by social media and modern technology which has transformed our feeds into so-called echo chambers. Information that is far from the truth but ‘feels’ true does multiple rounds on social media and gets elevated to gospel—how can that be good for us in any way? It is true that social media is instrumental in bringing forth diverse opinions, but is a groundless viewpoint even worth considering?
Time away from the internet is no longer our default state; we are always
connected, wired in. This breeds trouble when baseless news starts infiltrating the mainstream media and begins shaping public opinion on issues of national importance. And facts get lost somewhere in the ruckus.
Trump’s victory in the US presidential run, and the shocking Brexit referendum instantiates how easily the hoi polloi can be influenced with emotional calls to personal beliefs and ideologies.
We are living in an age where the lines between verity and subjectivity are blurring with every passing minute. The question is, what should we do? Well, one thing everyone in a digitally-integrated world needs to keep in mind is to conscientiously consider everything we share on social media, and check if the information is coming from trustworthy sources. Don’t believe something just because it has been shared a certain number of times, ask yourself which story is worthy of buying into and spreading around.