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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

You will have heard about #FakeNews it’s been around for 100s of years, where people have tried to control the minds of other people, usually for a political gain.  In the old days it was called propaganda.

In the internet and social media age things are far more sophisticated.

(If you want to know more read then try Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnem)

In the book, it explains how in the world of the internet, people think fast.  So that initial rush of “anger” that kicks off a rant, rather than taking the time to think something though.  And probably claiming down and moving on.

Here’s a simple example, what’s 2 + 2?

4 right?  I bet you all added that up and thought that’s easy?

OK, what’s 2345 x 2345?

Now 90% of you will have gone, “I don’t know and I cannot be bothered to add it up as Tim will probably give me the answer lower down in the article”.

And that’s what we do, we think fast, but cannot be bothered to think slow.  This thinking is accentuated at the speed of social media.  A swipe on a mobile takes about 1.3 seconds.

It’s too easy to think “this really annoys me and share it”.  Now this is where brands and politics could exploit you.  Now I’m going to explain how.

I now need to explain something using an example of an individual that in the UK can be seen as a divisive character.

Now I’m making no political point, just using the thinking fast and slow example.  Put this is where it has been used by political parties to get people who are anti-something to share, which then reaches people that party wants, as it will motivate them positively.

So what do I mean?

Most political parties, brands etc, know who their supporters are, they are probably on email lists, they may follow on social media, donate to the party.  The critical thing is that they do a “Heineken” and get to people they cannot reach, contact people who are not on the email lists and motivate them to get on the email lists, donate etc.  Now let’s not forget that the people that are anti that political party or brand, they will never vote / buy from you.  So it’s pointless trying to change those people’s minds.  But those anti people will be connected to people who are pro and are probably not connected to the brand or party in any shape of form.  So using, “thinking fast and slow” concepts, you use people who are anti you to spread a message to motivate and get to people who are pro you, but you are not talking to already.  Complicated?  How about an example?

To the left is Nigel Farage he has been the leader of UKIP (UK Independence Party), they stood on a Brexit only platform.  He positions himself as a “man of the people” often drinking a pint or smoking a cigarette as his target market is white, male middle class men who like a pint.  Now if Nigel annoys you, please stick with me, this isn’t a pro (or anti article) it’s an example of how people are being manipulated on social media. 

UKIP had a problem, they had reached all of the people who they thought could vote them on email lists.  So what they did, was have a standard photo that appealed to the average UKIP voter but added the words.  “This is the photo that UKIP tried to ban”.  Anti UKIP people shared it like mad all over social media.  If you are anti-UKIP nothing like annoying Nigel by sharing a photo he had tried to stop being spread?  But that wasn’t the point.  It was spread by UKIP to motivate UKIP people (they didn’t know) to the cause.  This technique has certainly be used by pretty much all the political parties since the UKIP example.

What is #Fakeviews?

Obviously “thinking fast and slow” mentality helps to spread #Fakenews, so what do I mean by #Fakeviews?

#Fakeviews is nothing new, think of it as like old school PR (Public Relations).  Which is, there is an idea or view and vested interests want to change that view.  So they set about it by writing content and articles.  For example, when mobile phones are launched there will be many articles that are pro and against.  The ones against, are probably written (and paid for) by the competition or people paid to write by the competition.  Just the same as often influencers are paid to do this and spread a certain view through their networks.

Another example, (that motivated me to write this blog) was when the Facebook algorithm changed, a number of vested interests (the advertising industry) set about trying to change people’s minds that having lots of adverts was a good thing and seeing more content from your friends was a bad thing.  There is always somebody on social that will share it.

Another example I watched this week, was by a feminist group with a video where a person wanted the word “man” banned.  Of course, men shared this.  It created a great discussion (in my news feed anyway) and that was the point, create a debate and get it spread by people who are against you.  While this is a dangerous tactic, for some brands and groups, they have nothing to lose.

In conclusion

There is a lot to this social media and I can assure you it’s not just about posting and hoping. Hope was never a strategy.

People who read this article also read these:

Why Donald Trump is the King of Twitter (not a political post)

On Social and in Real Life, Nobody Likes a Smart Arse…

If Columbus can do it, why can’t you?

 

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