Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings

This is a map of the US I made last year in response to my experiences there when filming my forthcoming Channel 4 series, Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip. I love maps. They have an air of authority, they show us where to go. This map toys with the common delusion that there is a clear and certain route out of our mess of feelings. Geographically, this map could be of anywhere as it is a map of the culture war that rages mainly online, but the US has a particularly well defined and extreme version. Stylistically, I was thinking of cold war propaganda maps showing the “communist threat” in the 1950s. The Big Brother-like figure at the top is Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook; I chose him because he is the best-known face of social media power. Social media is mainly financed by advertising, so those in charge want users to stay online as long as possible. The algorithms make this happen by encouraging conflict and outrage. The red arrows represent this feeding of negative emotion that keeps people scrolling. The internet is perfectly designed to inveigle its way into our patterns of thinking and feeling. When… Read full this story

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