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The Outrage Cycle

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beginning of anger

Instant zero: An important event occurs. Eyewitnesses and primary sources tell the news. A statement is created. A video has been posted. Tweets are tweets.

First hour: Journalists scramble to spread news of important events.most of this twitter, but placeholder webpages are lumped together on various news sites, and cable news channels punctuate the latest car chases to provide “breaking news” about important events. This is the first viral wave. Let’s call this the “primary viral wave.”

First 24 hours: Within the first 24 hours there will be a gold rush to get the primary viral wave. Thousands of journalists, bloggers, influencers, celebrities and politicians published their “views” on important events. These early takes range from quality education to sleazy attention prostitution. Most people who say even the slightest noteworthy thing about an important event quickly go viral, their follower counts explode, and their tweets are picked up by news outlets who still don’t know what’s really going on. increase.

24-48 hours: Of the tens of thousands of “takes” posted in the last 24 hours, dozens have emerged as clear winners in terms of winning the Attention Coliseum. These handful stories are repeated and re-shared enough to become conventional wisdom and basic facts about significant events. Or start telling your family to have dinner or boozy happy hours. This makes them feel knowledgeable and intelligent.

48-72 hours: The primary viral wave has reached a saturation point. Little is new about the facts of significant events that have not yet been told. As a result, intrepid journalists, bloggers, authors and influencers are beginning to delve into data and information from the primary viral wave. Sure enough, this video is fake. And that photo is Photoshopped! And that data analysis was done wrong!

Oh my god, a scandal!

Everything you know about important events Wrong! The authorities are lying to you. The mainstream media fooled you. Damn it again!

The fake content and disinformation that inevitably occurs during important events start to come to light. This caused outrage and outrage among millions of people, another Viral waves across social media and news services. Let’s call this the “rebound virus wave”.


Rather than a single narrative like the Primary Viral Wave, the Reactionary Viral Wave is a collection of dissident narratives colored by various interest groups and cultural identities. Rightsists focus on how rights and freedoms are violated. Left-handedness amplifies the injustices and prejudices that take place. Those who live to fight racism will find it in the stories of the primary viral wave. Those who live to promote the free market will find a domineering and corrupt government in the Primary Viral Wave story. Like the global Rorschach test, significant events do not change an individual’s views, they simply reflect them.

Because the Reaction Virus Wave consists of multiple combative views on important events, people quickly get into conflict and start quarreling about who is to blame and who is at fault. The primary viral wave creates a sense of togetherness and a desire for understanding in everyone, while the reactionary viral wave blows everyone away, returning them to their little tribal camps.

1-2 weeks: Various competing reactionary viral waves have reached saturation within their respective audiences. Various news outlets and influencers have increased their rhetoric to 11 to maintain attention and interest. The obligatory Hitler and Stalin references are made. Conspiracy theories spread. Everyone is angry and upset with someone.

If anything is true in the age of social media, it’s that stories evolve to saturate as much attention as possible. This means that the takes are ultimately taken to the extreme. A newscaster who expressed mild concern about war a week ago becomes downright apocalyptic. The expert researchers who once appeared on television to give cautious advice will be replaced by apocalypticists and anarchists. Douchey influencers and TV critics will attempt ridiculous positions for no other reason than to upset and re-talk Twitter.

third wave

In the midst of this chaos, a third brand journalist or influencer steps in and basically tells everyone to calm down. These influencers and opinion leaders tend to be political moderates who publish their content independently, so they don’t give in to the corrupt economics of the attention game.

These moderate “let’s calm down a little” voices initiate the counter-reactive viral wave, the third and final viral wave caused by a significant event. And the anti-reaction virus wave is so careful and cautious to be accurate and fair that it accomplishes what other virus waves cannot. In other words, it bores people. Sure, it educates them to the point where they finally settle down, but it’s boring.

The truth is, just listening to a historian discuss Russian history on a podcast for three hours is enough to show that millions of people are ignorant of Russian history. actually I care about war as much as they thought.

Tonight’s basketball game, whether the stock market will crash next week, your child’s piano recital, and so on.

…until the next momentous event occurs and you are thrown down the proverbial staircase again.

And not only do they go through waves of virality over and over again, but they go show after show, like a magic trick that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, each one shocked, surprised, and stunned. keep scaring. In time, same amount and measure.

And the most amazing thing is that when each hip of an important event checks the previous event from the attention spotlight, most of these important events actually forget what happened in the first place.

Unfortunately, if you remember all the important events they’ve forgotten in recent years, you’ll find that many of them weren’t actually all that ‘important’.

Worse, when something really important happens, it blends seamlessly with the continuous stream of shit that is information in the social media age.

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