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The Truth About Fake News, Virus-Killing Cars and How Twitter Might Save Social Media | Non-Obvious Insights #221

To understand the world, most of us rely on news media. The problem is, it’s hard to know what to trust. It’s an issue that we often hear described as “fake news,” but the real issue may be what we call “news” in the first place. Read this story and all the others from my weekly newsletter (subscribe here) in this post. Watch me talk about this story and many other stories in this week’s edition of the Non-Obvious Insights Show!

The Truth About Fake News

What if fake news isn’t the problem? This week Hassan Minaj shared a segment on his show Patriot Act about the vital nature of local newspapers as a source for truth, important investigative journalism and actual breaking news. Too much of what we describe as “news” is actually what he terms “high fructose bullshit.” I couldn’t agree more. For several weeks now, I’ve been reading story headlines like these:

  • YouTuber Jake Paul Charged with Misdemeanors
  • Tucker Carlson Says “Protests Are Definitely Not About Black Lives”
  • Don Lemon, Joy Reid Spread “Lies” About Trump Economy, Black Political Consultant Says

None of this is news. It’s gossip and it doesn’t matter. The irony, though, is that none of these stories are fake. They are based on what someone said and they are accurate. But they are irrelevant and do nothing to make us smarter or the world better. Thankfully, there is something we can all do.

Stop clicking on and sharing those stories. (You’ll notice that none of the stories I mention above are linked. That’s intentional because I don’t want to send them the traffic.)

This week, Ivanka Trump complained about the “cancel culture” on college campuses that led to her invitation to speak to students in Kansas being rescinded. Of course she did – and she has a point. Stand-up comedians have pointed to the same effect as a reason why they no longer enjoy performing on college campuses. The cancellation makes it a bigger story and gives her more credibility. Imagine if she did come and no one showed up instead.

The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference. 

Sometimes the best thing you can do to fight back is to stop giving your attention and anger to media and people who are clearly trying to manipulate you. Show them that when they speak, no one is listening. Let’s not share or legitimize those voices that don’t deserve our attention in the first place.

Can Twitter Save Social Media?

Like most social media platforms, Twitter deserves its share of criticism for helping to spread lies and misinformation. But a feature they are piloting now may help to reduce the ability for bullshit to go viral – by asking people to do one simple thing: read an article before they share it. The new feature pops up a message encouraging someone to read an article they are about to retweet before sharing it. Of course some people will ignore the popup, but some won’t – and reading an article you are about to share certainly seems like the bare minimum that we should all be doing anyway.

The Sneaky Brilliance of Google Drone Delivering Library Books To Kids

Sometimes a PR team will draft some ideal headlines of articles that they are hoping to get published. This article seemed like one of those … solely about the upside of Google’s drone delivery tests and the undeniably sweet story of how drones are being used to get library books to kids. It’s a master PR strategy to help people get more comfortable with the fact that drones will be delivering anything. It’s a comfort that Google certainly needs in order to get approval to fly drones for many other reasons as well.

Nudgestock Is Coming Tomorrow and It’s Going to Be Awesome

Since my days at Ogilvy, I became something of a behavioral psychology nerd. When you start to understand how the human brain really works, the entire field of marketing and how to be persuasive with storytelling becomes less of a mystery. I’m excited that the team at Ogilvy is hosting a LIVE event called Nudgestock featuring 12 hours of speakers from across the world – including several former colleagues of mine.

What the Rise of esports Means For Brands and Marketing

The overnight disappearance of live sports has created a perfect storm of opportunity for esports. In video games, you can create content, partner with creators and players and generally approach sponsorships and advertising from a place of much more substance. Sports sponsorships often involve lazy billboard-like execution – like slapping a logo on a jersey or renaming a stadium. With esports, marketers can get more creative with building entire experiences and even make products that can be sold and generate in-game revenue.

Ford’s Virus-Killing Car Heater Hack

If the inside temperature of a car reaches 132.8⁰F (56⁰C), it can de-contaminate the inside of a car with 99% efficiency within 15 minutes. The problem is, most engine software would prevent a car from getting that hot inside, because it’s unsafe for humans. But now Ford has created an engine software hack that removes this safeguard and is testing it with its Police Interceptor Utility. For now, the innovation seems restricted to police vehicles, but people are already speculating that this tech could also help resurrect the hard hit industries of ridesharing and car rentals by helping people feel more comfortable getting into cars used by either one as well.

Read all the stories shared in the Non-Obvious Insights Show this week:

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About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

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