Do you remember the Telephone game?
One person would whisper a word or phrase into another person’s ear; that person recites that phrase into the ear of the person sitting next to them.
This would continue until the message traveled throughout the group. The last person would say the phrase aloud. More times than not, the phrase would be jumbled and FAR from what the game started with.
The impeachment is the phrase. The Telephone Game is social media.
This is not about Donald Trump. Heck, this isn’t even about the impeachment. Well, sort of.
It’s the context surrounding the impeachment.
Turns out, no one actually knows what the heck is going on. I am not here to explain that either.
What I do want to touch on, is that no one actually knows fact-by-fact, detail-by-detail, except for the individuals in the room who were voting on the charges against President Trump. Not even the media outlets who were reporting on the matter.
Here’s where the Telephone Game comes into play.
You hear one thing about the proceedings, tell it to a friend.
That friend tells their friend.
Their friend tells their co-worker.
The co-worker tweets it out.
Someone retweets it with their opinion and so on...
It doesn’t matter if it is factual or not, what matters is that the fact or realism of the initial comment has been manipulated each time it is told to another source.
Last week, someone at a Walmart in the Charleston, South Carolina area tweeted that Ellen Degeneres was spotted at a local Walmart.
(You can read an article by a Post and Courier reporter here.)
What happened next was a frenzy of people searching for Ellen. The manager at this specific Walmart had to make a major announcement that no, Ellen had not been to the store.
Ellen is an immensely famous talk show host based out of California. Why would she be in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina? Who knows. Is this real? Who knows.
But why did people believe it?
Because that is the influence social media has on us today. We believe the things we see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even YouTube (which even video can be HIGHLY manipulated to deceive the eye). We do so because a majority of us have grown up with social media. A new generation is being raised ON social media.
Social media is comfortable. We reach for it to feel secure in social situations - grocery store, Starbucks, an elevator. Social media is our security blanket, even though it is the farthest thing from secure.
In 2016, The University of Phoenix posted that nearly two-thirds of Americans claimed that their social media account have been hacked at some point.
Although technology has become more advanced in the last three or four years, hacking still happens.
From your security cameras to your Disney+ and Netflix accounts.
Every time you post something online; every time you click something; every time you enter a website, you are being tracked.
I don’t say this to make you feel unsafe. I say this to make you feel aware.
If your technology can be simply compromised, your knowledge can be compromised.
You could have every degree in the world, have read every book - but you can be fooled by a tweet.
Wikipedia, a website that was known for falsified information, now has a secure database to ensure that no one posts false information. But anyone could write and post to the internet.
The point is, don’t fall for everything you hear or read. Do your own research on each topic. (Heck, you may choose not to believe anything that I have just typed out.) Read scholarly articles from legitimate sources.
From social media to running/marketing your own business, don’t trust anyone without having your facts, your beliefs, and your morals in check.
Because a pinch is talking.*
**referencing the Telephone Game