Until very recently, we were exposed to and offered much less political opinion, and for many of us, that was a good thing. Now, social media “turns so much communication into a public performance,” Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell have argued in The Atlantic, and data analysis shows posts with a tone of “indignant disagreement” get the most attention. Twitter is often a “positioning mechanism,” as Vox’s Jane Coaston tweeted this month, where the feedback of likes, replies, and follows encourages strong, oppositional political opinions.
Publicly displaying those opinions makes them that much more difficult to disavow, even when we’re presented with good cause to do so. The very act of tweeting makes us more unreasonable. More bluntly, “saying something dumb makes you a bit dumber.”
That effect is compounded, I suspect, by a concurrent move away from modernism’s assumption of knowable, objective reality and toward postmodernism’s prioritization of contextualized narratives.