Intercultural Extraneity

The Illusion of Expectations and Reality

This post explores how meaning is negotiated and created. To do so, it examines a meme and includes at least one alternative interpretation. It also reflects on the cognitive bias that can affect how we generate and disseminate meaning in our own social networks.

The reason why we chose this meme is the fact that coronavirus is still the most relevant topic of the contemporary world. We are all dealing with the most serious pandemic of our time and it has infiltrated all of our daily behaviours, conversations and overall lives.

Every single apocalyptic movie has taught us that we need to prepare for bloody, catastrophic, demolished world in which we would have to fight for our lives in order to survive. However, the message of this meme has shown that the reality is actually not that exciting, but is, in some way, even more terrifying because we are essentially fighting an invisible enemy. On the left side of the picture, we see a character from the TV show The Walking Dead, which is basically a show about the zombie apocalypse. But even without ever seeing an episode, everyone could easily understand the context of this meme, since it shows a tough-looking man with a bat, ready to combat the apocalypse. On the other side, we have a man in a robe, wearing a mask and standing in the middle of an empty store, probably looking for some toilet paper. Not quite what we expected, huh?

Since we are bombarded with negative news by the media all the time, many of us have become fed up with this kind of content. Instead of looking for apocalyptic movies for our entertainment, we have turned to some brighter topics when it comes to amusing ourselves. Here’s an article we found which deals with this occurrence.

The symbolic content of the meme represents how we can never predict everything that could happen and that we have to be prepared that not everything will turn out as we expected it to. Even though none of us could ever presume that we were going to be living like this, frantically washing our hands and being afraid of every social interaction, we have to adapt to today’s circumstances and try to adapt to the world around us.

Comment on the article Biases make people vulnerable to misinformation spread by social media

Reading yet another article on the abundance of not only information but misinformation that can be accessed easily on the Internet came as no surprise. The amount of fake news, the strong presence of the content of questionable quality, and more and more common use of clickbait headlines are all old news.

However, this article did shed a new light on all of it by explaining why this keeps happening. The authors identified three types of biases that can be responsible for our misinformation. They go on explaining that the way we are being informed and the information that we choose to trust or distrust, essentially, depends on us, on the people around us, and the algorithms specifically designed to present us with content tailored just to our liking.

As a response to all the misinformation that we’re receiving daily, they came up with a few tools that can offer you a way of dealing with it or teach you how to start recognizing certain patterns by yourself. They may not be perfect but it’s more than we had a few years ago, and it is never too late to start protecting yourself from less threatening enemies.

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