Think Before You Like: Social Media's Effect on the Brain and the Tools You Need to Navigate Your Newsfeed (Paperback)

Think Before You Like: Social Media's Effect on the Brain and the Tools You Need to Navigate Your Newsfeed By Guy P. Harrison Cover Image

Think Before You Like: Social Media's Effect on the Brain and the Tools You Need to Navigate Your Newsfeed (Paperback)


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At a time when the news cycle turns on a tweet, journalism gets confused with opinion, and facts are treated as negotiable information, applying critical thinking skills to your social media consumption is more important than ever.

Guy P. Harrison, an upbeat advocate of scientific literacy and positive skepticism, demonstrates how critical thinking can enhance the benefits of social media while giving users the skills to guard against its dangers.

Social media has more than two billion users and continues to grow. Its widespread appeal as a means of staying in touch with friends and keeping up with daily news masks some serious pitfalls-- misinformation, pseudoscience, fraud, propaganda, and irrational beliefs, for example, presented in an attractive, easy-to-share form. This book will teach you how to resist the psychological and behavioral manipulation of social media and avoid the mistakes that millions have already made and now regret.

Harrison presents scientific studies that show why your subconscious mind loves social media and how that can work against your ability to critically evaluate information. Among other things, social media reinforces your biases, clouds your judgment with images that leave a false impression, and fills your brain with anecdotes that become cheap substitutes for objective data. The very nature of the technology keeps you in a bubble; by tracking your preferences it sends only filtered newsfeeds, so that you rarely see anything that might challenge your set notions.

Harrison explores the implications of having digital "friends" and the effects on mood, self-esteem, and the cultivation of friendship in the real world. He discusses how social media affects attention spans and the ability to consider issues in depth. And he suggests ways to protect yourself against privacy invasion, cyberstalking, biased misinformation, catfishing, trolls, misuse of photos, and the confusion over fake news versus credible journalism.
Guy P. Harrison is an award-winning journalist and the author of Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to Be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier, and Wiser; Think: Why You Should Question Everything; 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian; 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True; 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God; and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity.
Product Details ISBN: 9781633883512
ISBN-10: 1633883515
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Pages: 380
Language: English
“A subject that affects virtually all of us. . . . Harrison shows how we can use [social media] more wisely to minimize the drawbacks and threats.”

“We all deserve to live in a social media environment that is responsive, responsible, and humane. So if you’re looking for helpful insights on how to evaluate the health of your own social media habits, how to maintain your privacy in a world of ubiquitous commercial surveillance, how to strengthen good thinking habits in an always-on context, and how to effectively contribute to creating the humane media system we all need, you must read this book.”

Lynn Schofield Clark, professor, University of Denver; author, The Parent App; and coauthor, Young People and the Future of News 

“[A] skillfully written and researched survey…. [This] book addresses timely topics, such as avoiding information ‘filter bubbles’ and ‘fake news.’ It also contains a well-designed chart for objectively measuring time devoted to social media and cogent advice about healthy use and warning signs. Perhaps the strongest sections are discussions of the importance of critical thinking, ‘standard weak points’ to be aware of in news reports, and five steps to ‘think like a scientist.’ Harrison manages to be firm without being a fearmonger.”

Publishers Weekly

“Guy P. Harrison has become an essential guide to the human mind and a champion of science, reason, and critical thinking. In this new book, the celebrated author of Think and Good Thinking applies his signature wit, insight, and good nature as he tackles the Internet and social media, two omnipresent beasts that he shows us how to tame. From fake news to privacy and filter bubbles, Harrison leaves no stone unturned, and he delivers another brilliant and vitally important book.”
Julien Musolino, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Rutgers University, and author of The Soul Fallacy

“Harrison looks at what social media is doing to us as individuals, to our culture, and to our lives. Sometimes the results are ugly: addictions float to the surface; we live in self-imposed bubbles of groupthink; and we have difficulty separating real from unreal. But the Internet also allows for love, creativity, and endless communication. Harrison wisely notes that this whiz-bang technology is going to be messy, because it’s at root a deeply communal human creation. Humans made it, humans are constantly remaking it, and the results are going to be chaotic—which might be a good thing. Instead of imagining a utopia just beyond the next Silicon Valley ‘disruption,’ we might be better off realizing that the Internet, like life, does not tend toward overarching ideals. Harrison keeps us planted on the ground even as he investigates the electrical ephemera surrounding, enriching, and sometimes destroying us.”
Eric Geissinger, author of Virtual Billions and the forthcoming Gamer Nation
Think Before You Like reveals social media as a ‘vast playground’ of shallow ties, rampant untruths, and endless trivia. But with Harrison’s help, we can create more tolerant, truth-abiding, and thoughtful lives—on- and off-line.” 
Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted 

“Harrison combines outstanding and comprehensive research with engaging, colorful, and entertaining writing. His spot-on book raises and addresses important issues on how we are both victims and beneficiaries of a wired world. Readers should heed his call to pay attention to and think about social media’s role in society and in their lives. This is a fascinating treatment of an important subject.”

Larry Atkins, author of Skewed: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias

“Deeply researched and always engaging, Think Before You Like is a fascinating exploration of online social networks. If you are on social media, don’t hesitate; read this book now!”
Adam Alter, associate professor of marketing and psychology at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked


"Harrison delivers a highly entertaining and extremely readable manifesto for using logic and reason for good thinking and a life better-lived."
San Francisco Book Review 


"Terrific, useful, well-written, and just plain entertaining. ...Think is a book that should be on every skeptic's bookshelf, and, more importantly, the bookshelf of anyone who is not yet convinced that science is the best way to know."
Skeptical Inquirer