Headline, April 01 2022/ ''' '' WARS ENTERTAINMENT WAND '' '''


 WAND '' '''

THE ULTIMATE HONOURS FOR MANKIND : Welcome to The World Students Society, wherein this great nation of America leads, is the exclusive ownership of every single student in the world. And now : The World Ahead.

THE INSIDIOUS MEME-IFICATION OF WAR.: ''ONE OF THE STRANGEST EXPERIENCES OF the modern world is following a war on social media,'' Trevor Noah said on a recent segment of The Daily Show. ''Because all the other stuff on social media doesn't go away. It just gets mixed in together.''

RECENTLY - RUSSIA'S PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN - was challenged to a duel by the billionaire Elon Musk.

Mr. Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted on at the official Twitter account of Mr. Putin's presidential office, challenging the president to ''single combat'' with the ''stakes'' being Ukraine.

The response in the Tweetersphere was gleeful : There were mock-up posters promoting the big fight, and Photoshopped images that cast Mr. Musk as the Terminator or Rocky Balboa.

Putin supporters - including the Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin - mocked Mr. Musk for the tweet, and Ramazan Kadyrov, the strongman head of Chechnya, a part of Russia, offered to train Mr. Musk, to ''change from the gentle [effeminate] Elona into the brutal Elon you need to be.''

''I've seen this movie before,'' one person tweeted, alongside a meme of the billionaire superhero Iron Man with Mr. Musk's face overlaid.

There was something unsettlingly familiar and Hollywood-like about the moment. It was almost as if the tweeters had forgotten they were discussing a complex geopolitical situation, in which millions of lives are at stake - and not just another celebrity feud.

And perhaps that's inevitable, when Russia's war on Ukraine itself has become a kind of meme on social media, with images of exploded tanks, refugee convoys and body bags interspersed with Wordle Humble brags, NFT hype - tweets and one of your friends' adorable pets.

On social media, however, these disparate items appear singularly, and they disappear as we slide our thumbs down our screens. The result isn't a mosaic but a blur in which the trivial follows the dire, the personal appears alongside the public.

War starts to blend with entertainment [ after all, it keeps popping up on one of the devices many turn to entertainment ]. Before we know it, we know a tech billionaire challenging the Russian president in a fight, as if they were in a high school locker room. And the crowd cheers them on.

What's the harm, you might ask? For one thing some of what we see on social media is simply untrue, which can mislead us about the facts of what is happening.

Take, for example, a video of what appeared to be a young ukrainian girl confronting a Russian soldier, which went viral at the end of February. In fact, the video was from 2012, and showed the Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi confronting an Israeli soldier.

BESIDES raising important questions about why certain conflicts seem to garner our clicks and others do not, the mislabeled video is illustrative illustrative of the kind of broken telephone messaging that happens when we mindlessly ''like'' and share.

Even without blatant untruths, by suppressing complex global events into flat images that can be understood with little context, social media tends to promote simplistic narratives that confirm existing biases.

This leaves users incredibly vulnerable to misinformation and propaganda - as in Russia, where misleading videos, images and clips present the war as a righteous conflict.

All this scrolling can also lead to compassion fatigue. For Mr. McLuhan, who famously declared that ''the medium is the message'' the tactile experience of media - in his time print publications, radio and television - was an essential component of its effect on the audience.

On social media, as we banish posts to the ether with a flick of the thumb, we caress their images, gently touching the army tanks, the faces of celebrities, the bodies of civilians in the street; we wear them close to our chest and sleep next to them at night.

This intimacy with violence and suffering can feel disturbing or emotionally triggering; it can also be desensitizing.

In the foreword for ''The Mechanical Bride,'' Mr. McLuhan references Edgar Allan Poe's short story, ''A Descent Into The Maelstrom,'' in which a sailor saves himself from drowning in a whirlpool of studying its current and observing its movements with detachment.

In this same way, we might try to identify and recognize the algorithmic undercurrents at the center of social media - but for most of us, the most practical solution is probably to just step away, and find a better way to stay informed about world events.

The Atlantic has called the flood of war-adjacent content ''million,'' a sociological term that to describe what the magazine called the often ''Ugly, Embarrassing Spectacle'' that ensues in the aftermath of tragedy.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Social Media, Might and History, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Hayley Phelan, a writer and journalist. Her debut novel, ''Like Me,'' follows a would-be social media influencer.

With respectful dedication to Mankind, Leaders, Social Media Influencers, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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