the logic of group behavior

it is documented that “group logic” - the rationale of group behavior – does not follow logic itself, or the structured logical reasoning of an individual applying the rules of logic, or a group of individuals in a structured conversation strictly following the rules of logic within that conversation

in other words, although individual members of a group may try to adhere to logical principles and behavior, the group behavior resulting from the behavior of the members of the group follows a different dynamic and may very well be illogical - and very often is

it is also documented that this applies to any group, independent of the characteristics of its members, be they well educated or not, score high on intelligence tests or not, are wealthy or not, etc. - so to the extreme: a group of philosophers well versed in the principles of logical reasoning may very well as a group behave illogical

there is no difference here between group behavior on the social media and other forms of group behavior – it is just that the social media make this general aspect of group behavior more visible

besides strict logic this phenomenon also applies to common sense – the sensible rules for decisions in day-to-day real life situations for an individual – this common sense may get lost in group dynamics, and often does

there are indeed many well documented examples in history – past and present - of group behaviors that are illogic, make no sense and even are unbelievably absurd

a report about a news item very often is the result of group dynamics, like the sifting and corrections or changings of the report through the “chain of command”, peer pressure, commercial or political decision making, etc.

so if you want to avoid fake news, be aware of and critical about the influence of these group dynamics on news messages

in a practical situation you may see:

the more a news message is the result of group effort, the less personal the message becomes and the more it will be a mix of the interests and biases of the parties involved - the end product may look smooth and very convincing and "professional" but the professionalism has become a cloak as well, a distraction away from being able to judge the quality of the message in relation to its source

like in a confrontation with group pressure

so in general you are better of with a message that has clearly the mark of an individual reporter, irrespective of the professional quality of this reporter or whether you agree or not, because it is easier to get a picture of this person, his or her perspective and line of reasoning, and you can better see and judge what you are up to

like in a more open personal dialogue