What Do You Amplify?
Sharing Responsibly in a World of Misinformation and Information Glut
Finding the time to write can be challenging. But writing isn’t the only way to share important thoughts and viewpoints.
We affect the world around us through the ideas we endorse and share, both online and in book form.
- We signal our approval of content with likes or other online reactions.
- We amplify posts by sharing them with our networks.
- We add our personal spin by commenting on and curating posts and articles.
- We spread the impact of books by reviewing them or recommending them to our friends
All of these activities have an impact in the online world. Through browsing and sharing, we contribute to the spread of ideas, memes, books, philosophies, and social norms. We create “thought leaders” and influencers, and amplify the voices of specific groups and individuals.
We may also, unintentionally, contribute to fear mongering, clickbait, fake news, and other unfortunate attributes of the modern world.
We have responsibilities as readers in an age of misinformation and information glut.
What content do you amplify? What are you supporting with your attention, approval, and reviews?
For example, when you click on a clickbait headline that makes a controversial statement or impossible claim, you’re reinforcing the practice of using those headlines or seeking to spread discord, alarm, or more. And when you share those posts, you’re extending their impact.
What’s good for clicks isn’t always good for truth.
What if we paid more attention to what we amplify?
How Will You Use Your Amplification Power?
In the Information Economy, you exercise power by sharing, reviewing, subscribing to, and commenting on content. So, consider the standards by which you lend your support to others’ voices.
For example, I tend to share online content that meet certain general attributes, including
- The content isn’t based on spreading fear or manipulating opinion.
- I know or admire the author of the content.
- Even if I don’t agree with everything, I feel that the content contributes something important to the discussion.
In addition to those filters, I try to amplify the thoughts and publications of the many smart women in my world. When working on Writing to Be Understood, I made sure that more than half of my expert interviews were women. And although I review a wide range of books about writing or marketing, again I make sure to represent many written by women.
This is my small contribution to quietly, slowly disrupting the unconscious bias that assumes that nonfiction authors or marketing experts default to men.
You might have different values. Perhaps you want to amplify the voices of people of color, or those with a strong commitment to the environment. The point is this: you can elevate those discussions that are otherwise getting lost in a world of clickbait.
You’re already amplifying and spreading ideas. Use that power with intention.
Originally published at https://annejanzer.com on February 11, 2020.