In January, 2017, this website was launched to try to highlight and discuss several communication trends we saw as pervasive and poised to grow in the coming years, especially under a new presidential administration. Those things included a shockingly low attention span, particularly about the stories that captivated us* for about two weeks before they disappeared. It included nonsense stories that were poorly reported and ultimately pointless but served to move an agenda forward.
The goal was to point out the nature of this "two-weeks ago" framework and how it was dividing and undermining our fabric as a society. We hope it would tell some stories through the lens a 14-days-later and then simply let people decide where to put their energy; how to evaluate a story they heard or read, and encourage them to dig just one layer deeper before sharing their outrage far and wide on social media and in public.
In some cases, it probably did that, although we are by no means taking credit for this trend. Over the years, we've seen graphics posted over and over again, informing people about the biases exhibited by the major (and minor) news organizations, suggesting which sources will deliver the facts without slant, if that's even possible anymore. We've read about the ways people can authenticate photographs before mindlessly and eagerly sharing them. We've read story after story about "confirmation bias" and how it can lead to an echo chamber of agreement among like-minded people. so much so that it feels like truth. We've learned of something called "motivated reasoning" which means we are motivated to believe whatever confirms our opinions. Or what about "naive realism?" Believing that the only views that are accurate are our own.
Yes, we're all so much more savvy about consuming the news, aren't we? And yet and yet and yet....people seeking to share passionate, heartfelt beliefs about a social injustice, an economic travesty or a political ploy repeatedly share memes and stories and images sourced to places like Democracy Now, Vox, Newsmax, Breitbart, or The Blaze. And these are only the most well-known among the slanted sources. There are scores of others, dedicated to single causes that provide the same kind of manufactured outrage and misinformation to their followers on a regular basis. Why we can't imagine, other than to keep their base of support anxious, angry and ready to vote accordingly.
With apologies to those who have followed Two Weeks Ago News, and commented and shared, and may have lamented that it went dark for a long while, it may be time to try again. To take perhaps a slightly different approach and simply use this as a place where like-minded people can share their own feedback about the state of communication in our society and perhaps coming away with a thread of hope for our future. We'll stick to the two-weeks lens, but perhaps offer some ideas about how to direct thinking in other directions. What a concept: critical thinking.
We're trying again....thank you for your patience; thank you for the feedback all along the way; thank you for fighting the good fight for common sense, respect, discourse and information. Onward.
* It's worth pointing out that those captivating stories were (and are) curated by the people who deliver "the news" to use a regular basis. Depending on where you get your news of the day, those stories all go through their own filters before being distilled to the public.