Just a quickie. A story on BBC R4 Today this morning. These recent photos of parliament showing empty and full houses for different debates, circulating on social media and used to suggest how badly MP’s see their priorities. They’re fake. No shit Sherlock?!? Some discussion about how social media readers are less critical in their judgement of what they find, and how stories, particularly those with images, spread like wildfire.
So to repeat my long standing memetic lesson – ideas spread and multiply not according to the quality of their content, but according to (a) how easy they are to spread (their medium and the simplicity of their presentation) (b) how catchy the content is to the receiver – how much it appeals to existing beliefs and preferences (ie consistency with prejudices).
Fact of life, ideas with real quality and content are both more complicated in their expression and more complex in their relationship to existing “knowledge”.
(Counter example – also on R4 Today this morning, interviewing Cleggy. The question continually put to him was “flip-flopping” on some policy decision. His defence was changing your mind was not flip-flopping. Flip-flopping is changing your mind back and forth multiple times. But flip-flopping has simple onomatopoeic ring to it, so it will stick to Cleggy. R4 is as “guilty” as anyone – ie it’s not a conspiracy it’s a natural evolutionary problem we need to learn to understand and deal with.)
[Post Note – and here also picked-up by The Spectator.]