Social media did not make us more gullible, create more of us who are gullible, nor did it create more of those who want us to be gullible. It merely made it easier for those who want us to be gullible to find us and find in really large numbers. It helped them increase our current level of gullibility and comforted us that we are not alone in our following or in our failure to ask questions.
That is why we are bombarded everyday with articles like these
- Sleep your way to creativity
- Science(?) of retweets
- What can Spurs teach us
- The Innovator’s DNA
- Marketing lessons from Grateful Dead
- The list goes on – just check any of blogs, marketing self-help books sections
I want to recommend you an antidote, something that will help us to not instinctively embrace our gullibility – questions. What kind of questions? In a recent NPR Intelligence Squared podcast, arguing against “Death is not Final”, Prof. Sean Carroll tells us this,
I hope it’s not insulting. It’s certainly not ad hominem because the message is that nobody can be trusted.
I think that that is part of what science has taught us, that if someone makes an extraordinary claim, the very first questions we should be asking ourselves are, number one, is there a different, simpler alternative explanation? And number two, how would we know if our purported explanation were false?
If you are not asking for alternative explanation or seeking data that would falsify what you read you are continuing to feed the gullibility machine. Asking questions makes the gullibility machine uncomfortable. It handles questions by labeling you as theoretical, non-doer, professor who knows nothing about business, lizard brain, …
Don’t feed the gullibility machine!