It’s official. My Facebook feed is being filled by idiots.

This article :

Pennycook G et al. On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshitJudgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563.

Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.

It explains a lot about Facebook.

I don’t know about anybody else, but my Facebook feed tends to sprout irritating memes and “motivational quotes”. Personally, the only thing they motivate me to do is go and find who posted it and beat them to death.

This particular type of meme-thingy tends to fall into two categories:

  1. The “uplifting” type, which basically says that the universe owes you success, so if you just wish hard enough, the universe will deliver – complete with a picture of a woman on a beach; and
  2. The “self-pitying” type, which implies that you, the reader, are the only really sensitive, wonderful, loving person in the world, and everyone else is a selfish bastard who doesn’t care and doesn’t deserve your time and attention. This type usually comes with a picture of a minion.

I found myself wondering why people post this dross, and why other people pass it on – it’s like some form communicable disease of the Facebook wall. “Hmmm… I see you have a florid outbreak of pseudoprofundity. You’d better log out for at least a week until it dies down.”

This article explains why: it’s not a communicable disease – it’s congenital.

And here’s a real profound quote:

“If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

By the late, great, Terry Pratchett.


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