The age-old maxim goes, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention". This has never been more applicable. Nothing drives social media engagement like outrage and social media platforms have embraced models designed to inflame and spark anger. The success of positive social and political movements like #MeToo and the Arab Spring largely stem from social media outrage but is it a positive societal force, or a dangerous sociological weapon that can destroy as fast as it creates?
Social media outrage spurs political change by increasing political and social participation.
Increases political participation
Social media outrage increases political participation by engaging many that would otherwise remain indifferent.
It drives political change
Social media outrage empowers social movements which drive political change.
It offers another mechanism for accountability
Social media outrage, like the mainstream media and other institutions, offers an additional mechanism for accountability.
Social media outrage can ruin innocent people's lives, limit free speech, fuel polarisation and aid the dissemination of misinformation.
Trial by social media
In the legal system, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. When someone is swept up in social media outrage, they are afforded no such luxury.
Outrage obstructs free speech
Social media users self-censor to avoid becoming the target of social media outrage.
The merging of domains
Social media outrages cause all the domains of a person's existence to blend into one.
Perfect conditions for fake news
Social media outrage aids and facilitates the spread of false information
Adds to polarization
Polarization in society is deepening and social media outrage is partly to blame.
The ending of Game of Thrones can prompt as much outrage as a school shooter.
Social media outrage dissipates too quickly to have any lasting effect. Therefore, it is neither a positive nor a negative societal force.
A storm in a teacup
Social media outrage dissipates too quickly to be meaningful.
This page was last edited on Monday, 8 Jul 2019 at 05:21 UTC