"Twitter is like the crystal meth of social media," says our guest, University of Tennessee Law Professor, Glenn Reynolds, founder of the popular political blog, Instapundit. Twitter "is addictive and ultimately unsatisfying."
In this episode we look at why social media is poisoning our politics, journalism and relationships by stoking anger, fear, hyper-partisanship and distrust of others. We ask: "how do we fix it?"
"Social media is addictive by design. The companies involved put tremendous amounts of thought and effort into making it that way, so that people will be glued to their screens," writes Glenn in his new book, "The Social Media Upheaval."
In our podcast, he cites work of Columbia University Professor Tim Wu, author of "The Curse of Bigness", who warns about the dangers of excessive corporate and industrial concentration. Glenn is sympathetic to calls to break up social media giants and reign in their political and commercial power.
Among other solutions discussed are greater transparency, such as publishing details of algorithms used by Twitter, Facebook, Google and other big internet firms to keep us on their sites.