“Instagrim”: Why social media makes students miserable

In our classrooms, we urge our students to express a range of opinions, to disagree, to become critical thinkers. Online is a different matter. On their Facebook and Instagram feeds, they are learning to conform and be uniformly agreeable, because opinion and difference can come with a high price.

“People have pressure now, more than ever, to project an image that everything’s peachy and wonderful in their life,” said one student.

You’re not as smart as you think you are

The Economist‘s review of Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach’s The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone illuminates an important principle: People often have strong opinions about issues they understand little about. And on social media, surrounded by like-minded friends and followers, opinions are reinforced and become more extreme. It is hard to reason with someone under the illusion that their beliefs are thought through, and simply presenting facts is unlikely to change beliefs when those beliefs are rooted in the values and groupthink of a community.

Humans struggle to explain basic inventions like a bicycle, but still manage to navigate the world with ease.