October 25, 2003

Virtual Zeal

http://physicsweb.org/article/news/7/7/13 An article on how a few zealots (fixed opinions) seeded / secreted in a population can turn it in a certain direction. This phenomenon, combined with the virtual intimacy of mass media, can have a disproportionately influencial impact on a population. Recall the immediacy of virtual disaster: TV kidnappings, sniper shootings, and terrorist atrocities engender a visceral sense of peril that goes way beyond the objective threat they pose. If we've seen carnage, we don't bother to calculate the odds. By a similar token, we regard our immediate friends and aquantances as more credible than "talking heads". A virtual zealot who buys in at "buddy" could wield considerable influence. Meld this with the virtual tribal zeal of sporting affiliation, and you've got a potentially decisive combination...

Posted by foote at October 25, 2003 02:35 PM