A Networked Age Guide: Communicating in a Polarised World.
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Networks enable innovation and collective action – they also encourage herd mentalities, making people more resistant to reason and more likely to form mobs. Networked minds form tribes based on shared values and gravitate towards the most passionate voices, resulting in political and cultural polarisation.
In 2018, we worked with leading neuroscientist Dr Tali Sharot and her research team at UCL’s Affective Brain Lab to understand how digital technology was amplifying human beings’ natural tendency towards group-think and to design a new set of rules for communicators. The results of this work were summarised in our first Guide to The Networked Age.
In 2019, we warned that if these trends continued, they would result in a Culture War that would consume politics, business and our institutions.
By 2020, a socially distanced population had become more reliant than ever on digital networks to make sense of the world and polarisation had produced a bitter Culture War that spanned everything from public health and education to Spotify and the Royal Family. In the US, Democrats and Republicans could not agree which Presidential candidate had fairly won the election.
Watch our Communicating in a Polarised World webinar and hear from our expert panel Ali Goldsworthy, Iain Martin, Suzanne Moore, Sunder Katwala and Nick Barron.