A transcript of my TED Talk
Recently, I was reading some existential philosophy (the Wikipedia page for “society,” to be specific) and came across something striking; We humans are defined by the patterns of our social relationships. We tend to trust those who we know and identify with, people with whom we’re familiar.
As a recipient of the Millennial Thought Leader of the Decade Award (sponsored by Soylent), as well as the Business Industry Humanitarian Entrepreneur Solutions Genius of the Year Medal (Sponsored by Aetna), I think about this question of trust frequently. Which is why I’ve recently taken on the task of revamping the course “News Literacy.”
What is “fake news” and what is “journalism?” How do we know what to believe? Some people will seek easy answers, lazy cop-outs such as “Don’t post articles from websites whose names are in all caps for some reason,” or “if the person who shared the article wore X-box pajama pants to school every day in high school, don’t believe it.” But not I.
See, recently, I came across an interesting sociological survey: a Yahoo answers entry titled “whey they need the news?”. Interesting stuff, truly. But in the process of reading, I was able to harness some interesting feedback from real Americans. In the thread, one of the users was a person named “lovemycountryhatemygovt,” who is presumably a coal mining political moderate small business owner from a swing state (the prototypical Real American as told by the machine-learning algorithm I use to make all my decisions), said something troubling:
“News on tv or newspaper is propaganda!” the red-blooded patriot said.
This is where I come in. People just don’t trust each other anymore; the bonds of our social fabric are breaking. It isn’t hard to sympathize with Mr. Hatemygovt. While News Literacy offers many useful tools for young people who were raised with the internet, it doesn’t help for those in the older generations — the baby boomers and Gen X-ers who don’t know how to parse the fake from real. I am here to change that.
Does your uncle frustrate you with his Facebook posts? Does your great aunt send you chain emails with the subject line “FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD:Liberal Stalinist THUGS shooting participation trophies over OUR borders using t-shirt cannons! (Sent from Ipad)” Do you feel hopeless in getting them to believe the real news?
Well, thanks to a recent, state-of-the-art methodology developed by my startup, Believr, and our partners at Loeb Enterprises, we need not worry about this any longer. As with my previous start-ups, such as w.ype (Uber for wiping your ass) and Creem-Mate (payday loans except someone comes and cremates 10% of your body in advance so you don’t have to pay for it when you die), Believr seeks to cultivate innovative solutions.
With our sophisticated understanding of the behavioral patterns of the 40-65 demographic, we believe that we’ve cracked the code; you no longer have to fret about your relatives not sharing reputable information. With our technology, we’ll have Nana and Uncle Doug looking like Woodward and Bernstein — an informed republic at last! Watching over the results, you may notice a familiar pattern.
So, behold, News Literacy as developed by my start up, Believr.