The promise of the internet was that if we connect the world and give everyone a voice, we could move forward as one. It didn’t turn out that way.
The way we consume information has changed drastically over the years.
For the majority of modern history, newspapers were the arbiter of truth, and people read the newspaper once a day and then talked about the issues with friends, family, and coworkers.
When radio came around, the news was delivered 2-3 times a day, by distinguished and trusted broadcasters like Edward R. Murrow that delivered the news right down the middle.
Broadcast TV increased the amount of news to 3-4 times a day, but still news was just something people ingested in between other forms of entertainment. And different sides of the news were presented evenly thanks to the Fairness Doctrine.
But with cable TV and the first cable news network, CNN, all that changed. Then news became the entertainment and more cable news outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, Headline News, and CNBC split into different ideological camps.
But with the rise of social media, the news became an all-day every day feast, and worst of all, it removed the gatekeepers. Meaning anybody with any viewpoint could get their message heard.
This was supposed to be a good thing. But it has proven to divide us even further and be exploited by troll farms and moneyed interests.
Even more upsetting is this is happening at a time when we need together on the same page to combat various existential threats.
The post-truth era could be one of the contributors to the downfall of humanity if we’re not careful.