In our digital age of overwhelming information and sound bytes, group think is terrifyingly easy. A professor I recently spoke to stated, “if you want to get social media hits just start slamming MBTI.” His point was that despite the fact that it is incredibly tested backwards and forwards and continually improved upon, it’s always popular to throw it against the wall and get some fake cred.
The MBTI slamming hobby reminds me of SAFe in the Agile community, a framework used for enterprise software development as a way to align vision and actions to ensure effective deliverables within a hierarchy. This framwork is a favourite comparison to the spawn of satan for many.
I have two questions of these kinds of haters.
- Have you tried it?
- Was it used in the right context?
Otherwise, please stop hating and come up with something better.
Then comes along the folk who read a Tweet based on a Facebook post of an article that summarized a badly put together informational article. It has to be right though, because after all, 942 people re-tweeted it. This isn’t even touching the slightly more nuanced situation where a past theorist posited something but was completely misunderstood and the incorrect assumption is the presumed theory.
Here are some concerns that I frequently see:
- Group think on slamming things because it’s popular to do so.
- Group think on a silver bullet because it’s popular to do so.
- The assumption that it must be valid because the intro and conclusion was scanned and statistics were present, such as Bohannon’s trick on quick grabbing headline journalists.
We can’t control for others, but we can control our own critical thinking with a balance between a judgment of what you read and a healthy dose of skepticism that prompts further research, something articulated so well in a MediaLIT course offered by ASU’s edX platform.
As writers and speakers, which includes literally everybody in the digital social media space, we need to motivate curiosity and empower people to hold ourselves accountable.
Here are some ways….
- Link, link, link within your writing.
- Source, source, source within your speaking.
- Actually check out the links and sources you’re using to ensure at least a modicum of credibility.
- Provide context … as blind application of your opinion can result disastrously.
- Provide alternatives when proposing a solution… as your solution just might not be the Holy Grail, especially since there isn’t one (see Silver Bullet).
- Keep it simple. Vagaries are written by those who don’t know what they are talking about yet, but hopefully are on the path, so don’t judge
…and lastly, shift the focus to helping people find actionable solutions to their problems.