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Is social media outrage a positive force in society? Show more Show less

The age-old maxim goes, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention". This has never been more applicable. Nothing drives social media engagement like outrage and social media platforms have embraced models designed to inflame and spark anger. The success of positive social and political movements like #MeToo and the Arab Spring largely stem from social media outrage but is it a positive societal force, or a dangerous sociological weapon that can destroy as fast as it creates?

Social media outrage is neither a positive nor a negative Show more Show less

Social media outrage dissipates too quickly to have any lasting effect. Therefore, it is neither a positive nor a negative societal force.
< Previous (3 of 3 Positions)

Social media outrage is a storm in a teacup

Social media outrage dissipates too quickly to be meaningful.
(1 of 1 Argument)

Context

In the final few weeks of 2018, social media was awash with outrage over jokes Louis C.K. made on stage about the Parkland Shooting[1] and at comments TV chef Andrew Zimmern had made about Chinese restaurants in the Midwestern United States. Fast forward to the middle of 2019. What came of the outrage? Where are these people now?

The Argument

Nothing. Like most other examples of social media outrage, the public's attention moved on quickly. Nothing came from the outrage. Neither person suffered adverse consequences as a result of the outrage. Both emerged unscathed and unchanged when the public moved its attention onto the next source of outrage. Social media outrage is simply too inconsequential to be a positive or negative force in society. It dissipates as quickly as it boils and rarely leaves any trace that it ever occurred in the first place.[2]

Counter arguments

Granted, the majority of instances of social media outrage do not amount to anything. For every #MeToo moment, there are thousands of incidents of outrage that burnt out without leaving any mark on the world. However, social media outrage has given birth to a number of landmark social movements that have had far-reaching political and social implications. Besides the #MeToo movement, there was the Arab Spring, the Black Lives Matter movement and the #RedForEd movement, among others. They all emerged from the embers of social media outrage and left their mark on society.[3] The Arab Spring reshaped global politics. It will go down in history as one of the single most important historical events of the early 21st century. Social media outrage has affected the lives of each and every person living on our planet. It is anything but 'meaningless'.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Social media outrage dissipates as quickly as it emerges with very few lasting changes. [P2] Therefore, it is neither a prominent nor positive or negative societal force.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Social media outrage has given birth to the social movements that are shaping our society today. [Rejecting P2] It has affected the lives, to some degree, of almost everyone on earth.

Proponents

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Further Reading

References

  1. https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/louis-ck-parkland-shooting-gender-comedy-set-1203096926/
  2. https://www.dailywire.com/news/39804/walsh-internet-outrage-meaningless-and-stupid-and-matt-walsh
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/magazine/when-does-a-moment-turn-into-a-movement.html
This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 10:19 UTC