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Reimagining success: Is it fake or real?

It’s encouraging to see the number of breakout sessions (among others on offer) in uLearn20 (virtual conference) this year pertaining to; identity, wellbeing, resilience, empathy in STEAM, movement for racial justice. This is a complex and changing world we live in, one where dystopia and discontent openly play out across our virtual and real worlds.

No doubt when we all reached out to connect with others during COVID-19 lockdown, we could see the benefits of social technologies. Watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix is a (not so new), sobering reminder of just how far and fast we have developed and used technologies to connect with friends, whānau and strangers. Our need to connect has driven the evolution of social media technologies to a point where A.I and machine learning is modifying all the time, giving us the ultimate personalised experience – influencing how we see the world through search engines, the content we view (media and ads) through to how we think and act. Who can forget Minority Report with Tom Cruise (2002)? Powerful stuff.

The irony being while these technologies connect us more, they’re also polarising how we see and live in the world. Some (not everyone) theorise we're being manipulated to connect, like, comment, purchase –  confusing to a point of believing the lies of social conspiracy. There’s no hacking here, the tools are designed to tap into our psyche (how we tick) will little self regulation or legislation. What better way to influence and control masses of people right? But my 12yr old son isn't buying it.

The likes, comments and posts we share on social media can often seem inconsequential, but they matter. They tap into some of the very elements that make us human, our addictions, desires, anxieties and joys. The pull of social media addiction isn’t all in our heads. It’s quite real, thanks to two chemicals our brains produce, dopamine and oxytocin. The Psychology of Social Media: Why We Like, Comment, and Share Online

So, how do we teach a generation; about the pull of social media addition, how to recognise fake news (the disestablishment of democracies) or how we’re all being manipulated by profit-minded social media giants; when they think we’ve gone down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories by believing any of this is a problem in the first place? (Its intentions are good, but Netflix doc ‘The Social Dilemma’ is as manipulative as Facebook)

For instance, false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. Study: On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories

If young people have a right to vote and are unable to tell fact from fake news, Reimagining Success might mean we largely need to become more informed about how social media tools work, the psychology behind how they have been developed and the affects on social behaviour (terraforming), so we can in-turn can teach our young people importance of truth and balance (mentally, socially) in an attention distraction model that is potentially anti-social by its sheer design.

Can you beat fake news at its own game? A partnership campaign by Netsafe and Facebook

What do you think? Fake or real?

What uLearn20 breakouts have you signed up for that can help grow a healthy sense of culture, identity and wellbeing?

Also see:

Kirirarautanga | Citizenship uLearn19