Please don’t get fooled by outrage

There is a lot of outrage in my Facebook feed.

Outrage at politicians and big corporations; at science-deniers and at bad science. Anger at Trump supporters and at the liberal P.C. elites, at beggars and rich people. Anger over fake news and over mainstream media’s bias. Anger, fear and loathing directed at ISIS, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Israel, Palestinians, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, etc, etc.

Before you get outraged, please understand that you are being manipulated.

Most of us don’t much like being outraged and angry, yet social media have (practically by accident) been engineered to provoke you and stoke your anger.

Why?

When you are angry, you are a more profitable social media user. You are more likely to click, comment and engage in discussion. When you are angry, you spend more time in social media, and come back more frequently than when you feel good.

Anger has its place, but I am sure most of us would rather spend more time being happy, and save our anger for worthy causes.

Don’t take the bait.

If you want to take it down a notch, here are some things you may want to consider before venting.

  • Keep in mind that your emotions are being gamed for profit.
  • Assume good intentions. Most people mean well.
  • Don’t assume you know the full story. You don’t.
  • Educate yourself before you comment. Ignorance is the enemy.
  • Be polite and respectful. That is most important when it is most difficult.

And finally:

  • Don’t forget your values and principles. They prevent your emotions from running away with you.