Social media democratized intimidation and freedom from accountability.
Does it feel like the quality of our national discourse has gone down in the last several years? You’re not the only one who’s noticed. It’s not individuals who have gotten stupider, says NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, but it’s our collective intelligence that’s suffering. Institutions aren’t getting as much done, and leaders are making rash decisions under the pressure of mobs on social media. Everyone on earth now has a “little dart gun,” says Haidt, and the sting of those darts add up to a messy, disorganized form of power. In his conversation onstage with the editor in chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Haidt explains the nuanced cumulative impact that social media has had on our discourse, and offers some ideas for how to raise our societal IQ back to functional levels.