SO­CIAL UN­REST

HWM (Singapore) - - Ed's Note - Zachary Chan EDITOR

So­cial net­works can be ei­ther boon or bane, de­pend­ing on who you have in your ‘friends’ list, but what many may not re­al­ize is how so­cial net­works have be­come the medium of choice for this gen­er­a­tion’s snake oil sales­men to ped­dle mis­in­for­ma­tion. As we be­come com­fort­able with tech­nol­ogy, we tend to place our trust that said tech­nol­ogy will do us no wrong. But there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween trust­ing a fit­ness tracker to pro­vide an ac­cu­rate ac­count of your 10,000 steps-a-day goal, and putting blind faith in ev­ery­thing read on­line.

This phe­nom­e­non is so com­mon, it’s a meme of­ten joked about within tech cir­cles, “If it’s on the in­ter­net, it must be true.”

The more alarm­ing trend though, is a kind of mob men­tal­ity. Peo­ple de­rive opin­ions about top­ics they would oth­er­wise have no in­ter­est in or no knowl­edge of, be­cause they read it on­line and their friends have been shar­ing it. Th­ese opin­ions be­come so in­grained, the truth is of­ten re­jected even when pre­sented with real facts.

A per­sonal anec­dote is the re­cent launch of Netflix in Sin­ga­pore. Many peo­ple have asked for ad­vice about get­ting onto the stream­ing band­wagon, but I know many more that have al­ready sworn off the ser­vice be­cause of its ap­par­ent vast gulf in con­tent of­fer­ing be­tween Sin­ga­pore and US ver­sions—with­out ever hav­ing tried ei­ther.

If you’re the go-to tech per­son in your fam­ily or so­cial cir­cle, you prob­a­bly have sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences. It is my hope that our sto­ries in HWM can be of some help to you in th­ese sit­u­a­tions, which would make our work all the more mean­ing­ful.

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