You might giggle and sigh at their gullibility, and I must admit to doing the same… right up until I saw the video that surfaced yesterday afternoon on the San Francisco Bay Guardian website about a Google employee telling protesters to leave if they couldn’t afford being in the city. I shared it on a friend in SF’s wall, who in turn shared it with her friends, a process that was doubtless being repeated on the Facebook walls of countless other people concerned about gentrification in San Francisco…
… and it was fake. Sucked in. If I’d had to email that to someone, perhaps I might have thought about it a little more carefully, and considered the fact that I wasn’t too familiar with this outlet. Had they checked their sources? Didn’t the whole thing seem a little too perfect? But it’s so easy just to click that little Like button, to feel momentarily outraged and somehow vindicated, and then go back to work. One more page-view, one more unique visitor. Click.
The more we buy into this idea of interacting with the Internet in a safe but ultimately superficial way, the more we reduce our ability to engage with it in a more profound way. This is a great shame, because the Internet is one of humanity’s great achievements: a huge portion of the sum total of human knowledge, right there at our fingertips, a quick search away. And all we do is share Upworthy links about inspirational cats with three legs. We can do better.
Now, go ahead and click “Like” and share this as widely as possible, OK? Thanks.