In this digital world, everyone is a member of a networked community. Each one is connected and has access to information through the Internet and mobile communication. The rate of information transfer is too fast than our capacity to rationalize on the information we receive, and in most cases we react instantly without even going over our thoughts.
With the speed of information transfer compared to our desire to be critical about the information we receive, we tend to sweep on the messages rather than really pay attention to its purpose, source, meaning, and effect. Sometimes, we are not really receiving a message that is essential to make us really informed to enable us to make the right choices. Instead, we receive noise but act on it as we felt it is the right thing to do.
The first situation I could site about this is when someone through Facebook initiated that campaign against child violence. When users saw everyone in their networked changed their profile pic into a cartoon character within December 2 – 6, they changed their pics and hid their identity from the rest of the world. Simply, because they felt they were doing the right thing even though they were acting on the wrong message.
The second case is this text scare, that began today, on nuclear radiation that could possibly hit the Philippines within the next twenty four hours beginning 4 pm. In this message the technical jargon of a melt down is misinterpreted to literally melt our human skin. The solution “bathe one’s body with betadine and come out with an umbrella and wrap over one’s body”. That’s if it rains. It attributes the information to be coming from BBC as a newsflash.
Since we receive too many information and our filters to process those information are not always switched on, we can be overwhelmed by our emotions. On extreme ends, as what I illustrated, a message can easily come to us to be valid. The reason here is that our emotions create an imbalance on our judgment and so affect our propensity to analyze the message before we react to it.
In the Facebook Child Violence Scampaign, a positive feeling triggers a potential response. Since, our eyes delight on the images that we see, and that the message seems to appeal on our universal value to be of help to others, our action was instant. Then, we did not think that masking our identities and all other identities of Facebook users could give chance for phedophiles to prey on children using the network.
In the Nuclear Radiation scampaign, anxiety is triggered to affect our universal value for safety and self-protection. As we value others we pass on this message without really understanding its nature. As we are scared, we get more confused and so we tend to act righteously but in the end we will know that we were overreacting if not acting wrongly.
Communication devices like the Internet and the mobile phone are potential and vulnerable medium for scampaigns. Scampaigns are simple messages that stem from an issue of value to the wider population. It presents itself as a valid campaign with noble intentions to be of help to others or to the readers themselves, but it really has no effect at all to anyone. It seems valid because it masks the intention, if there is at all, with factual and truthful information.
Scampaigns are false knowledge that appears to be true, proper, moral and beneficial, but they have no value at all. It utilizes facts to prompt the receiver to do an action. The instigators of this scampaigns may have other gains, which we do not know unless we are able to track them, but possibly they find gratification in seeing someone do the action. The scampaign is an act to display to get attention, getting that attention is the fullest gratification that the scampaigner could get.
Scampaigners have no regard for others, because what they do have implications that they cannot control later on. The utility of the Internet and mobile communications is so convenient for them, so it can be assumed that these scampaigners are a bit techy and are also informed by their exposure to other medium of communication. Scampaigns, depending on the action required from the receiver can cause mass hysteria, social disorder, cognitive dissonance, confusion or could be a threat to national security.
At one point, scampaigns may appear to be innocent of any other dark motives, but in another it is way to disrupt existing order. So it is anarchaic, egotistic, and self-serving as it is dissillusioned. Thus, what the scampaigner wants to transmit is his personal dilemma or dissillusionment transferred to the action of the reader which he wants to have control of. Such a person, must have suffered social rejection, that he is in isolation and he finds value to his self by misinforming the widest number of people possible. Simply the scampaigner is neurotic.
A genuine campaign has a source, the identity of the source is revealed and recognized by the receiver. The message is not masked with incongruent information. The message can be validated through others and the authorities’ position. It calls for an action, and that task is logical and reasonable. It does not prey on the individual’s emotional weakness, but appeals on their rational mind. It will have plausible and significant results, and it can never be challenged or questioned at any angle.
Think these over? How can changing one’s profile pic save a child from domestic and social violence? Test, look at the statistics of violence on children, then change your profile pic and look at the statistics the next day or so. If the statistics dropped the campaign was genuine. How can betadine protect you from radiation? Test, deep and smudge some meat with very generous amount of betadine inside a microwave, if it keeps the meat fresh after high heat for 15 minutes, the source of that text scampaign was right, and I am all wrong in whatever I said.
We are living in an information age where knowledge is supposed to be at the tip of our fingers. Because our fingertips don’t think it doesn’t not mean that we lost the ability to be critical of what we read in our mobile phones or the internet. It becomes more esssential for us to challenge and question the knowledge that swarms our networked world. Or is this just the effect of living in a wild wired world where humanity is moving towards its devolution?