Wednesday, April 12, 2017
I AM AN ADDICT
I'm fairly confident most people won't bother reading the first line of this article. I'm not
really going out on a limb because most of America believes it can tell what's in story by just
perusing the headline.
Sad, but it's very true.
I'm anticipating a number of comments about the 'addiction' on my Facebook, LinkedIn, and
Twitter pages offering support or condolences. "Oh, Paul, I did not know. I'm so sorry",
somebody will write. Or it'll be, "Hang in there, man, we are all pulling for you."
I'm sure the gossip cauldron will ignite with, "Did you knows" and "Do you believes." I'm
sure the next high school reunion I go to there will be plenty of "Hey, man, sorry to hear
about your problem. Stay strong and keep up the good work."
People that read the headline of this article will have it all figured out, I'm sure. They won't
ask what kind of addict I am, but will go ahead and assume the worst because, after all, they
just need to scan the headline to determine they don't have to waste any time or
energy to read the rest of the article to get the facts.
Maybe our lack of depth is a result of social media and the tsunami of information that floods
it. People are always scrolling, swiping, and snapping and probably don't want to deal with
overload. They scroll, read a headline, then move on. Some would rather take the chance of
being misinformed than not being informed at all. As we've seen with social media users,
everybody is an expert about everything from politics, terrorism, Syria, tax returns, and
anything in sports.
Albert Einstein may have been correct when he said, "I fear the day that technology will
surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
We don't need to investigate or bother to do the least amount of work to see if something
that's been printed, texted, or shouted out at the top of a person's lungs, is the truth. In this
world where we get our information in 140 characters less, people don't have the time to ask
anybody anything face-to-face. We no longer take the time to have a conversation to seek
the truth or get the facts. We just read a tweet, post, or a headline from some fake news
site and believe it to be true.
It's amazing that with all the stories about athletes, politicians, law enforcement officials,
and Wall Street executives who lie, lie, lie, lie, and then, lie some more, there are still people who ask, "Why would they lie?" to justify or solidify a story they just read or saw.
Lance Armstrong? He lied. Rick Pitino? They don't call him Pinocchio for his skills with a
woman not his wife on the floor of a Louisville restaurant. Michael Vick? Liar. Donald
Trump? Convicted liar. Every steroid user in professional sports that got caught? Liar.
Good,grief. The list goes on and on, doesn't it?
News and entertainment sites lie all the time just to get the most amount of clicks from
people who can't tell the difference between real and fake news. I remember reading an
article by AmericanNews or one of those god awful click-centers that said Trump got Fox
News anchor Sheppard Smith fired
After reading many of the jubilant comments eviscerating Smith, I just shook my head and
said to myself, "Man, I can see why people get robbed blind of all their savings by some
scam. People believe everything they read and can't think for themselves."
A few months ago, I arrived late to my nephews hockey game at an arena in Long Island.
A big crowd had gathered near the corner of the ice rink. They were in a big hizzy because
someone read a headline of an article on their iPhone where Donald Trump said Barack Obama
was wiretapping the big tower with the president's name on it in Manhattan.
Somebody said something and everyone ran with it to tell all their friends. They didn't say
Trump accused Obama (without any facts, of course). The people just railed away that Obama
was wiretapping Trump, making like he committed a felony and was going straight to prison
sans an arrest or trial.
Yep, I had to let out a giant Good, grief, Charlie Brown.
I've had people make arguments against points I made in an article, spitting venom and vitriol
my way. I often respond with a, "Did you even read the article?" Time suddenly stops and the
pregnant pause is brutally painful. "Um, no, sorry."
Take the time to read the article my friend. Headlines aren't always for the truth, but often
candy to get your attention. Read before you respond.
In one of the million recent studies that people often post on their social media platforms,
(which people often post without reading) a group at Columbia University found that nearly 70 percent of the people who re-tweet or re-post articles don't even read them before banging
on that send button. They just read the headline and re-tweet it to their 2,984 friends on social
media, which like sleeping at Holiday Inn Express, must have made them feel smarter.
If you read this far, then you'll know this: I am truly an addict. I'm addicted to food and exercise.
Is that such a bad thing?