“Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid.” (Ricky Gervais)
A famous character from Balkan jokes, Mujo, is driving on a highway and is panickedly avoiding cars who are coming in his direction, frantically honking and flashing high beams.
On the radio, the host is giving an important notice: “Drivers on the highway are asked to be extra careful, one fool is driving in the wrong direction.”
And Mujo replies: “If only one, all of them!”
The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people think they are smarter than they actually are. The reason for this is that people with limited intellectual abilities are not able to recognize that their intellectual abilities are limited.
I would spend probably half a day giving you all the examples of research that have shown the Dunning Kruger effect in real life so in this case, I will leave googling to you.
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In one of the previous blog articles, I described the so-called Dark Tetrad of personality, which represents a set of 4 personalities: sadism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism. These personalities are very often present in real life in people who are prone to internet trolling.
So, by now you have already learned that there are fools who don’t know they are fools, but there are also fools who are consciously fools because their Internet behavior is a reflection of their behavior in real life as well.
And then we come to freedom of speech…
We must be aware that democracy is one of the greatest evils of modern society because the voice of a fool is worth as much as the voice of a smart man.
Freedom of speech combined with the Dunning Kruger effect and/or the Dark Tetrad of personality is a time bomb in the digital age…
Under the guise of free speech, certain conspiracy theorists or internet trolls are literally lynching people, minorities and even brands.
Although there are fact check pages and even Facebook has introduced the option to detect fake news, due to the above examples of human irrationality, you can’t count on everyone to rationally look at all the facts before pressing “share” or making a life decision.
How harmful human stupidity can be for society is best seen by the examples around us.
Bill Gates, a person who has done for humanity perhaps more than any other individual, despite the fact that he leaves almost all his wealth to humanitarian organizations and is currently funding the invention of a coronavirus vaccine, has become the target of various conspiracy theorists who claim that he is trying to control humanity. Of course, this is most often claimed by the same people who solve quizzes such as “Check which Hollywood star you look like the most” on social networks, leaving their personal data to find out one such useless piece of information.
At the local level, in a tourist place in Croatia, locals broke a device that allows free wifi in public areas because they were convinced that it was a 5G transmitter that spreads the coronavirus. So, the residents of a tourist place that makes a living from tourism, broke the device that allows tourists to share their memories from that place on social networks.
The biggest irony is that conspiracy theorists share their thoughts using the same technology they allegedly oppose.
Unfortunately, there are countless examples…
HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF FROM FOOLS?
In 2003, a famous singer and actress Barbra Streisand filed a $50 million lawsuit against photographer Kenneth Adelman demanding that a photo of her villa be removed from his site, one of 12,000 photos showing the California coast on his site.
By the time this lawsuit became known to the public, that photo had been downloaded from Adelman’s site exactly 6 times; it was downloaded twice by Barbara’s lawyers.
After the news of this unusual lawsuit resonated through the media, more than 420,000 Internet users visited Adelman’s website.
The lawsuit was dismissed, and Streisand had to pay Adelman $155,567 in court costs.
Because of this unusual case, the term Streisand effect was created, which defines a social phenomenon in which, by trying to hide or censor certain information, you actually cause a counter effect.
Although almost all the rules of community management state that brands (or public figures) should always communicate with their fans, show empathy, be patient, tolerant and kind, life shows us differently.
I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, but there’s a chance that some of your fans are fools too.
The best method for such people is not to give them media space – don’t let fools become famous at the expense of your brand.
Behavioral marketing specialist, Google Growth Engine Ambassador (Adriatics) and founder of Promosapiens. Dalibor is a regular speaker at the international conferences: Shopper Brain (Netherlands), Dubai Lynx (UAE), Euroshop (Germany), Family Thinking Marketing Forum (Poland), Branding Conference (BiH), MEKST (Serbia), HOW Festival (Croatia), just to name a few… His lectures with the practical examples of behavioral marketing are regularly the highest rated among the audience.