The past week has offered plenty of stories that seem designed to invite outrage. From Pepsi’s tone deaf ad to Bill O’Reilly’s mistreatment of women to a passenger forcibly removed from a United flight. The common reaction online to all of these stories is one of shared outrage. It is an emotion we are feeling and expressing more and more online.
The cross section of stories this week will take a deeper look at why much of the outrage we feel may come from a combination of laziness, manipulation and unscrupulous algorithms. Knowing when this is happening is the key to getting smarter and choosing for yourself what is worthy of your outrage … and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.
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This Facebook newsfeeds exploded this week with United’s forcible removal of a passenger. Many quickly jumped to blame the airline. A non-apology from the CEO made it quantifiably worse. Yet this article from a pilot’s wife said perfectly what the CEO should have said all along. Yes, this was a customer service failure. But it was also a security issue and much of the troubling violence of his removal was due to security concerns and not because United likes to beat up their customers. The damage may be done, but this article is worth reading if only to illustrate the old adage that there are indeed always two sides to the story … and perhaps we all need to get better at reading both before jumping to express our outrage.
What happens when a Dad with Photoshop skills decides to create a series of Instagram posts with his baby in dangerous situations? That’s right, thousands of commenters online attacking him and expressing their outrage. I love everything about this, including the spotlight it shines back on those who were quick to judge him without bothering to get the full story or just lazily reacting to a photo without reading the backstory. Are people today too easily outraged? Yes, they are.
This past week Facebook shared some information about “reactions” buttons and how your clicks are being used to filter what is shown in your news feed. As one spokesperson shares, “if someone takes the extra step to select a reaction, it’s an even stronger signal that they would want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post.” So if you often click an “Angry” reaction, you’ll see more posts that make you angry … which explains a lot.
If you have ever presented data to a room full of skeptical people (or been one of the skeptics yourself), this article has some useful insights about what it takes to deal with that unique sort of outrage that seems to be directed at you but instead may be coming from an underlying insecurity that you don’t know about. Outrage, when expressed against statistics, usually has an underlying cause. This article offers some useful tips about how to understand and address that cause.
Rather than search out another story designed to make you more outraged, I thought I would share a few tips that you can pass along to anyone who you see getting a bit too easily outraged online. If you can inspire just one of them to be a bit more selective in their outrage, the online world will be a better place. Please read my full article with tips posted on LinkedIn today.
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this email is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this email interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!