Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

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absinthe beginner
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Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by absinthe beginner » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:39 am

As incredibly networked as people are today through the 24/7 news cycle and social media, we seem to be innundated by news that often makes us fearful and anxious. What are the ramifications of this during times of crisis or contingencies? Already we've seen social media accounts of gas shortages in places like Dallas and San Antonio cause actual shortages as panicked consumers rushed out to fill up their gas tanks and containers. Social media can be incredibly helpful and informative, but can also spread inflammatory false news and rumors like wildfire. I suspect the current onslaught of hurricanes is going to provide plenty of examples of the media - traditional and social - fanning rampant fear and anxiety.

Let's discuss.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... 9b03f32d9d

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by TacAir » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:46 pm

Decent article considering the source.

"Americans, Abramsky argues, have developed a warped gauge for measuring danger. The fault lies in part with the media — the movie that makes a generation of people afraid of shark attacks at the beach when mosquito-borne disease is far more common, or the news accounts that make us more fearful of plane crashes than the vastly greater danger of car crashes. "

I would agree. Visual communications are powerful, and when "news" events are in the 'reporting stage' and I mean that as "staged" (fake, enhanced, whatever) that media now becomes a tool rather than just 'information'.

Image

This is the kind of 'staged' media I am talking about - from the reporter on her knees in a puddle to make water look deeper than it really is... to the CNN crew that just happens to be on scene with camera rolling to save a 'hurricane victim' - has, sadly, become all to common.

So what? Well, these stunts have all but destroyed any credibility ever held by the mass media, so if something that is a real danger is reported (say, a refinery fire) many will just blow it off as over hyped reporting - and may be in danger without realizing it. A modern day version of the boy that cried wolf - with video at 11.

The danger that social media presents (and the viral memes that float around in there) is many may consider the information as true because it originates at an individual level. That same 'story' or meme - when upon any kind of rational examination, turns out to be not only is demonstratively false, it could be all but physically impossible.... Again, visual media is very convincing....even if false/fake.

Why does this matter?

Current lead - A disagreement over Facebook led to a shooting that injured four people in Allen, North of Dallas..

Use this as a search string to see more examples - "false facebook story leads to shooting" alternative "fake facebook story results in shooting" You will find more than a few examples, sad to say.

The net is also alive with CGI that tells a false story or meme.
Here is one site that seeks to debunk a lot of this kind of cr@p - Captain Disillusion. Yes, he is real and a visual artist that shows you how to tell if a video has been worked over - see
https://www.youtube.com/user/CaptainDisillusion for an example - the guy is kinda funny as well, but the information is real enough.....
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Stercutus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:07 pm

I don't have 24 hour TV news.

I fired DirectTV a while back. It had gotten to the point of ridiculousness. For years I was paying around $240 a month for every imaginable TV channel you could get. We had it all even the specialty sports channels like NFL Sunday Ticket.

It seems I got tired of watching whiny millionaires play ball and run around and make political commentary and hating on my country, telling me how fucking hard life was so that was the first to go.

Then we started streaming movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime so we got rid of the movie channels.

Then the "news" stayed on quite a bit. Except there wasn't any news. It was a bunch of political commentary. So it was all gone.

Digital streaming. I miss getting college ball sometimes. That is about it.
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absinthe beginner
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by absinthe beginner » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:21 pm

This is the kind of 'staged' media I am talking about - from the reporter on her knees in a puddle to make water look deeper than it really is... to the CNN crew that just happens to be on scene with camera rolling to save a 'hurricane victim' - has, sadly, become all to common.
I cut the cable four years ago and never looked back. Got tired of involuntarily subsidizing corporate media propaganda. Therein lies a large part of the problem - as discredited as the mainstream media is, sometimes the alternative media, blogosphere, and social media that people turn to instead can be sensational, inflammatory, or downright false. Add to that the proclivity of people like my father-in-law to gullibly swallow every urban legend and dutifully "warn" all his e-mail contacts of some dire danger that is usually complete BS. His latest Internet warning conflated pictures taken of a Los Zetas arms cache in Tamaulipas State, Mexico, several years ago, with pictures of Hezballah flags and Egyptian-made Maadi AKMs with Arabic writing on the receivers to claim that the Zetas were creating arms caches for their Hezbollah allies in Arizona and New Mexico, and of course The Powers that Be were suppressing this news so as to not alarm the populace. Pure horseshit, but my FiL bought into it hook, line & sinker. No wonder he has hypertension. And I think he'd feel better if he gives me hypertension, too.

In the event of a bona fide national emergency, a savvy enemy - several come to mind - could sow considerable panic and confusion by injecting false information and "fake news" to exacerbate the situation, because there is no "gold standard" source of information to turn to (although I trust the UK Telegraph far more than most American media outlets).

I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but rarely watch the TeeVee any more and feel like I've gained ten IQ points and countless hours of my life back.

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by raptor » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:54 pm

Whatever you call it fake news, rumour mill, skuttle butt incorrect information has been passed around since humans first gathered in groups of more than two.

What has changed is the speed and ease at which it is disseminated. Couple this Photo Shop and CGI software and the old axiom of never believe what you read and only 1/2 believe what you see now becomes assume it is B.S. until it is confirmed by many independent sources.

Even that may not be enough.

Still getting back on topic, there is no doubt in my mind that social media and 24 hour media cycle has raised anxiety and the fear level in general to basic constantly and needless high level.

Personally I turned off TV last year in January. I still have cable tv but only because the package for high speed internet is cheaper with it.

Most of the news coverage I have seen for Harvey and Irma has been of little constructive value other than the weather forecasts. Even those have been dumbed down to the point that if you want details to back up the forecast you have to to the internet.

I go back to Katrina. The news I heard differed from the facts I was observing 9 time out of 10. The same for the flooding in BR in 2016.

The flood in BR though revealed the power of social media when used properly by smart and oganized people.The Cajun Navy self assembled, set up and self deployed. They relayed good data back to everyone involved via FB.

So I think social media is like any tool. Used properly it can be invaluable, use it wrong and you get problems.

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by flybynight » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:44 pm

Stop it you're scaring me . :awesome:
Seriously I don't think the speed and ease of fake , false news has as much to do with it , as the speed of stupid. The lack of critical thinking on the most mundane of topics or situations has not been so prevalent probably in the history of mankind
As of now I bet you got me wrong

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:21 pm

Interesting thread. One could pick any comment (post) thus far and create an endless thread of discussion for each. Information dissemination and its speed, certainly, whether true to you or not, is how things are now. The human being has nearly all inputs and outputs first go through a bias filter whether one acknowledges this or not; and, as flybynight states, there is a growing lack of critical thinking. If you post or read on a forum such as this it is likely that you have considered every possible bad news scenario for you and yours, thus you don't get rattled every time a potential emergency alarm starts to go off. There are a lot of alarms being sounded. Ratings matter too, so whether you listen to a narcotic-addicted, fat Rash Limberger or tune into Fox for the viewpoints of a conservative supermodel one must assume that they want to sell what the most people are buying. FEAR SELLS.

Another part that's new (to me),
Anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common mental-health concern for American college students
is the entire idea of mental health concern. If one were to watch TV for 12 hours straight they would be inundated with advertisements for drugs that treat anxiety and depression and although I cannot speak for everyone I assume that this makes a lot of people anxious and depressed. It seems there is a diagnosis and treatment plan for every thought a person has these days. 'So, you like eggs and bacon? Have you tried talk-therapy for people that may enjoy the sunrise a little too much?' Sheesh.

I found it interesting that no matter what channel I turned to for IRMA news, there was a banner across the screen updating us on how many people had perished thus far. WTF,K? (K is short hand for 'over' in FO training). Blood, and body counts. Everyone's a McNamara.

Lastly, for now, I will offer a positive note. It would be hard to measure but I would like to think that the Florida governor repeatedly warning everyone to prepare themselves for a strong hurricane probably saved a lot of lives, and the discussions of climate change that result from dangerous weather, linkage or not, probably cannot hurt.
Image
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:24 pm

Hilarious. No sooner had I posted that when a pop-up on another screen told me that this device could be all that I would ever need for survival-like situations. Love that wrist-flashlight and it looks like there might be room for storage of some .22LR and breath mints.
Image
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by flybynight » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:36 pm

Asymetryczna wrote:Hilarious. No sooner had I posted that when a pop-up on another screen told me that this device could be all that I would ever need for survival-like situations. Love that wrist-flashlight and it looks like there might be room for storage of some .22LR and breath mints.
Image
Pay no attention to the Stercutus behind the curtain. Breath mints are over rated. They lack penetration :crazy:
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Asymetryczna » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:26 am

I have a small amount of regret now for posting a picture of a tactical compass and chronometer bracelet, with built in survival stealth storage and wrist flashlight. Once people look at it there is a chance that they get so excited that they forget how to read. This takes away from a great discussion that was started.

The fact is that fear sells and it sells well. Add to the discussion.

http://www.alternet.org/media/fear-sell ... e-billions

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=89713019
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by flybynight » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 am

Asymetryczna wrote:I have a small amount of regret now for posting a picture of a tactical compass and chronometer bracelet, with built in survival stealth storage and wrist flashlight. Once people look at it there is a chance that they get so excited that they forget how to read. This takes away from a great discussion that was started.

The fact is that fear sells and it sells well. Add to the discussion.

http://www.alternet.org/media/fear-sell ... e-billions

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=89713019
Ah crap I bought ten of them just on your recommendation. :clownshoes: I was going to wear five on each arm based on the more is better axiom. Akimbo style :lol:
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by raptor » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:54 am

Asymetryczna wrote:I have a small amount of regret now for posting a picture of a tactical compass and chronometer bracelet, with built in survival stealth storage and wrist flashlight. Once people look at it there is a chance that they get so excited that they forget how to read. This takes away from a great discussion that was started.

The fact is that fear sells and it sells well. Add to the discussion.

http://www.alternet.org/media/fear-sell ... e-billions
Actually IMO you illustrated a related issue quite well.

The other issue with the viral nature of news is click bait. You posted click bait (your photo) and the thread attention shifted to a new narrative.

The desire for clicks is what drives news now. We have gone from all the news fit to print to never let the truth get in the way of a good story/"clickbait".

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Vallyn » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:05 pm

Stercutus wrote: Digital streaming. I miss getting college ball sometimes. That is about it.
For what it's worth, we switched to Sling maybe a year ago, and have generally been happy with it for the price. They had 2 options, one with ESPN, one with a bunch of other sports (Fox, NBC, and BeIN, I think). Being primarily soccer-watchers, we went with the second. You do need a good internet connection, but this nerdy household was going to have that anyway.

It's also overall reduced how much TV we're watching, which is probably mentally healthy, though binge-watching over streaming still happens. I tend to get my news in the morning via radio, which is plenty fast but maybe reduces a little of the sensationalism.

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by seandeville » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:57 am

During the London Blitz there were three kinds of people during the bombing.

Dead
Injured
Those who survived

Despite the obvious damage, the mental health of the population was surprisingly robust, and the robustness increased as the bombing increased as did the resolve.

This is one of the reasons the IRA bombing campaign failed on the British mainland, people adapting and normalising what occurs
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by MPMalloy » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:05 am

I haven't had a TV in several years. I'm not missing a thing.

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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by AlexanderPain » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:02 pm

You really aren't missing much on TV. With the exception of a few quality shows, it is a wasteland. I'm really concerned with the quality of new these days. There very obvious biases in the reporting of each network and it is obvious that networks have shrunk the number of reporters they have and increased the number of commentators. Over the past few years, the quality and credentials of the commentators has also declined. Objective facts seems scarce these days.
People were once divided into hundreds of groups, but now there are just two: the living and the dead.
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Re: Spreading Fear with Viral Efficiency

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:35 pm

TV-Shmee-vee. I have one. I watch it. When I turn it off I am bombarded with the same amount of advertising, marketing and half/truths from half a dozen other sources. The US Mail almost never leaves your mailbox empty, the radio channels are either paid for by someone else or encouraging you to pay for it directly or indirectly, and anything logged into the net is compiling your interests constantly.

No matter what sources you use for information these days it is nearly impossible to avoid the number and increasing variety of messages that Dr. Stephen Hawking has been attributed:
Killer robots spewing acidic celery juice on humans who have turned the Earth into a giant fireball."

Here's a guy the world has learned to love. His unbelievable ideas/discoveries and mind are fascinating. Do we only have a few hundred years? Will we colonize out there? Are there people maxing out the use of every word he uses to spread fear with viral efficiency?
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry David Thoreau

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