Via those crazy kids at grinding.be comes an article whose writer analyses the culture of social networks and media with the “groupthink” criteria of Irving L Janis, coming to the conclusion that our favourite websites and communication channels may be (gasp!) gathering us into groups where the established and accepted truths remain unquestioned.
It’s not the first time the issue has been raised (and frankly I’ve given it greater credence on those occasions when I’ve seen it on sites who employ a copyeditor and/or whose side-barred “all-time most popular article” isn’t entitled “10 Ways To Have Fun With Boobs”) but my response remains the same: find me a human social construct or communication platform that doesn’t put vague ticks in most of those boxes.
Groupthink is a function of being human; it’s the phenomenon that makes party-based political systems not just possible but debilitatingly pervasive. Do social networks enable groupthink to take root? Sure they do – but I think it’s safe to say they offer more opportunity for dissent and debate than the old centralized broadcast media that they’re replacing ever did. As always, the problem isn’t technology, it’s people.