Stupidity: the social network edition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDsnCrSfzCQ&feature=player_embedded#!

The above is an hour long documentary on the stupidity of people, and how when it comes down to it, people are going to choose to watch stupid movies and television shows, read stupid books (case in point, 50 Shades of Grey) and look at the profiles of stupid people on facebook, tumblr, twitter, etc. Why? 1. It makes us feel better about ourselves, 2. It’s entertaining, 3. Stupid people often say and do the things that we either can’t, won’t or realise are too stupid to actually do / say and we want to see the fallout. And I’m sure there are more reasons I could tell you if I were say, a psychiatrist.

The video was a sort of validation I needed for my belief that on social media sites you’re going to get a lot of attention if you’re an idiot. Kind of like how hot girls are always going to get a lot of traffic on their pictures, the same goes for certain blogs getting a heavy traffic flow due to the silliness of the content. Think of how on youtube, boys doing silly stunts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4t9jz03c04&feature=related) is likely to get more views than something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJX68ELbAY, where you can learn something interesting and new that could possibly shake everything you thought you knew.

This isn’t to say that the first video is of less value than the second (though, well…) it just goes to show that most of the time when a person sits down at their computer, or to watch tv, they’re looking for entertainment – not education.

This realisation struck me when I spent more time on my tumblr account than I ever had before.
14 year old girls who post mostly pictures of One Direction, talk openly about their sex lives (or lack of, one would hope for 14 year olds) and who have weird arguments with anonymous people usually have thousands more followers than the account of someone with broad interests, who blogs well, talks nicely to their followers and can hold a decent conversation. I’ve met some really cool people on tumblr, all different, but all smart, and they all had under 300 followers. While on other hand, I’ve met some vain, boring people with over 25,000 followers. And I couldn’t tell you the real reason why.
Remember the hipster blog phenomena of tumblr? That goes into what I’m talking about.

Remember even further back when Shoko Asahara made the followers of his cult believe he could levitate and had them all practising for hours even though he never actually let them see him do it in person? Yeah. That’s probably one of the stories that really drives the point home. It’s not a social networking example, but I thought it was neat all the same.

Which brings me to wordpress. So far I’ve only been here two weeks and I really like it. For the most part, people here just love writing, expressing themselves and connecting with people and they’re all able to do so without coming across as an idiot. I have come across one or two however where the blogger has written something nonsensical, or not truthful, or plain awful and they’re the ones with comments saying “Great stuff!” and “Very true, love your blog.” and lots of likes, while meanwhile I’ve found posts with no comments and no likes that are actually awesome.

What is this attraction to stupid we have? As the video said, “attraction”. Why do we value the opinions from a silly post more than a serious one? Is it because we think the serious blogger thinks they’re superior and we don’t want to give them the satisfaction of validating their intelligence? Do we prefer to have the attention from sillier people?

People are strange creatures. In high school, no one liked the know-it-all and instead wanted to chat with the loud-mouthed gossiper. I’m not claiming to be a smarter person than anyone, in case you’ve gotten all hot under the collar with indignation that I dare say anything of the sort – I am just genuinely baffled.

If I find out the reason. I’ll let you all know. In the meantime, anybody have any examples of this in action?
Also, if you find that nobody ever likes your posts, don’t worry, you’re probably too smart or awesome for them anyway.

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