Psychological manipulation is rampant in social media, we see it all the time, but the ultimate master at this game is none other than the tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump. Take for example this one innocuous sounding tweet "It's okay to say Merry Christmas now". Well of course you think. That sounds totally reasonable. Why shouldn't it be okay to say Merry Christmas? Wait, you mean it wasn't okay before to say Merry Christmas? I didn't know that? So you check it out and soon discover there was a "war on Christmas" led by those godless liberal thought police. Oh no you think. It's a good thing Trump came along and put a end to that.
What just happened here? Since Trump is no Jedi I'll just call it the Trump Mind Fuck. He does it all the time. Witness the speech he gave in Utah when he opened up the Bear Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante to mining, drilling, and logging. He said he was giving the land back to the people after it had been taken in a land grab by the over reaching federal government. It sounded so reasonable, so benign, almost heroic. Of course it was a totally lie. An insidious, deceptive, cynical, evil lie. But it sounded like such a good thing! You've been mind fucked again.
Trump isn't the only one doing this of course. It's all over social media. You know when you come across a post that somehow makes you feel like you must be stupid for not knowing that, or wow this guy must have passed the fourth stage of enlightenment. Posts that make you feel like the poster must really be part of the in crowd and you definitely are not. Or somehow they are privy to some secret knowledge that has been held back from the common folk. It's a trick. They are just fucking with you.
I think we have a pretty good understanding about how the press and network news sways public opinion one way or the other by reporting only part of the story, or ignoring important events while focusing on trivial ones. Most people are used to this and try not to let the news media affect them that much. But social media is so new and can be used is so many subtle and deceptive ways, I don't think we are all properly hardened to the ways in which it can affect our thinking. I am not a psychologist. I would very much like to see a study by psychologists on all the various methods being used to manipulate our thinking on social media. What I do know is that now more then ever developing the art of critical thinking is of utmost importance. Be a skeptic. Make your default to not believe anything unless there is a good body of evidence backing it up. Even then question the evidence. Realize that what we believe or disbelieve doesn't make a damn bit of difference in the grand scheme of things. What is is, regardless of our beliefs. However it is when we act or speak for our beliefs that we can get ourselves in trouble or have a negative impact if we are wrong. So believe what you will, but only speak for what you know.