The idea that the British people could vote to leave Europe, or that the Americans could vote for Donald Trump has caught many by surprise and only goes to show how complex and unpredictable human nature is.
The repeated failure of pollsters to get their predictions correct is largely down to the fact that we have a tendency to go along with the crowd when we have to. Most of us don’t want to stand out, we prefer to be part of the herd. The need to belong results in a tendency for us to say what we believe people want to hear. We talk about the benefits of staying in Europe, or the craziness of Donald Trumps last statement but secretly, somewhere deep down, the desire for change is within us and a surprise outcome is the result.
I say ‘surprise’ outcome but this is only a surprise to the pollsters who cry-out in shock and horror, not because of the result, but because they have got it all completely wrong yet again and they have to cry-out in pain so that we are carried away with the horror and disgust of it all and forget the fact that they have failed to predict the nations reactions yet again. Of course, the majority of the voting public should not be surprised at all as they are the ones who actually voted for the change in the first place.
The problem is that most of us live in a relatively small world where we see the same family members, friends and colleagues over and over again and because most of us are rarely exposed to new or different thoughts and ideas we end up believing that everyone thinks or feels the same way as we do.
To overcome this, we need to get ourselves out of this limited range of information that we are being fed and expose ourselves to new and challenging views. But instead, we listen to the same news stations each day and get the same views which are filtered to meet that news channels own preferences, we read the same news papers with the same filtering that meets your views and associate with the same people who will ultimately have the same views as you. We see the same colleagues who are hand picked to have the same values as you do so that they fit-in and work well as a team and we see the same family members who have also grown up being exposed to the same thoughts and ideas and have the same views.
The result is that most of us are simply living in an information vacuum where anyone supporting a different view is not part of the team and are either shut-out, ignored or both.
How can we gain a true understanding of what is really going on in the world when we only listen to information that is strained and cleaned for us?
There is much in the current news about ‘misinformation’ but this is nothing new. Most of us apply our own blinkers to the information available and then add our own ‘spin’ so that it meets our views or those of the herd. We are so good at this that we often do not realize that we are automatically filtering out some information in preference of seeing the full picture.
We must all take great care of the information we receive and share. We must look carefully at its authenticity and more importantly we should all take care that we give the full picture to others and do not ‘colour’ the information we pass on as there is a fine line between misinformation and disinformation and both can be harmful.
Misinformation – unknowingly disseminating incorrect information.
Disinformation – knowingly disseminating incorrect information.
Author CW. Written in response to a Clever Community question. What is the difference between Misinformation and Disinformation. Thanks for your question and keep those clever questions coming. If you have a question or comments we would love to hear from you. Post your comments below or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main image – Original Pixabay: Geralt