In a bid to curtail the pollution of my social feeds from hoaxes, slanted messages, and blind regurgitation of propaganda, I hope sharing these points might encourage some to stop and think about what they read and share… just maybe.
What is propaganda
Propaganda is deliberate and systematic communication that aims to persuade. Representing the creator’s agenda, propaganda is slanted by a specific perspective in an attempt to “achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
Propaganda asserts simplified messaging, presenting debatable ideas as facts. Through the use of graphics and symbols, effective propaganda manipulates target audiences by appealing to ingrained cultural biases. Propaganda tends to make emotional appeals that stir a response within the viewer.
What can qualify as deliberate, organized, slanted messaging that aims to get you to do something?
Propaganda comes in many forms. Below are a few common examples:
Special Interest Promotions
Why does propaganda work?
Propaganda is designed to manipulate. Talented propagandists know what makes you tick and how to use that to persuade you. Below are a few reasons why we are susceptible to propaganda’s persuasive magic. (Click here for a very long list of cognitive biases that plague us humans.)
Five Things You Can Do About It
Knowing that you are susceptible to propaganda is only part of the battle. Below are five things you can do to mitigate its impact on you:
- Stop believing things unquestioningly. Just because it appears in your Facebook feed or was covered on the news, doesn’t make it true. Stop, question and think.
- Identify the aim of the message. Did it make you feel a certain way? Is the message encouraging you to do or think something – if yes, what? Don’t you feel manipulated?
- What is the source of the message? What do you know about them? Find out more. Who are they? What do they stand for? Who funds them? What is their aim?
- List the arguments made through the message – can you think of any counter arguments? How much do you really know about the subject? Go learn more – from multiple sources. Fact check for accuracy. Every disgusting new disease warning is just a Snopes away from refute.
- Listen to opposing views. Just because you think you are right, doesn’t make it so. Read the perspective from the other side, and try to suspend your ingrained views while doing it.