The Minority Rule and Social Media

A small human in a big world

We are the same species of primates that lived in tribes of hunters and gatherers. When there was a problem with one of our tribes-people, we solved it as a tribe.

We used to have only a small amount of problems and information to process and filter. Then over the course of a few decades, we became a world tribe, whose tribes-people had problems that needed to be addressed.

Our human nature wasn’t evolved to handle a technological globalized society that provides an endless waterfall of information and problems. Our mental biases that cause us to anchor, search for confirmation, appeal to authority, and maintain consistency, to name a few, were harmless because scale was limited. Now, not so much.

Intolerant minorities use social media as leverage to build armies

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”

Margaret Meade

Social media is the new form of leverage. It’s brought so much wealth to the world by monetizing the attention of people. For all the good social media has done, it’s also why the ideas of a few people have taken a hold of the majority. To a na├»ve observer, what looks like consensus is actually the ideas of a few.

This is an application of the minority rule (Taleb). Those in the minority have significant skin in the game, their lives are extremely immersed in what they believe is the problem. The minority act in ways to polarize topics. The choice is binary. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This causes a hard divide, rapidly creating soldiers to proliferate the idea among the world.

Reduce and decentralize

At the individual level, the way to handle this is simple: reduce. Reduce exposure. Taken a step further, become the intolerant minority who will not associate with those who use social media. Kind of extreme, but what isn’t these days?

As far as a solution for the world, I don’t have one. A global solution to a problem as complex as this is going to take some work. But overall, I believe the solution lies in a form of decentralization.

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