Covid-19 – A 'herd-think' disaster?
One size doesn’t fit all. This is no rocket science, but the world does not seem to recognise this simple factual norm and application anymore
One size doesn't fit all. This is no rocket science, but the world does not seem to recognise this simple factual norm and application anymore. If one analyses the reactionary response to Covid-19 world-wide, it is evident that measures being undertaken by national governments of developed, developing and underdeveloped nations are quite similar in nature. Nations with less, medium and mammoth size populations have adopted similar measures. Nations which have modern, medieval and ancient civilisations have acted in a similarly way, with very less exceptions.
This unprecedented, inexplicable uniformity with which nations across the world reacted to Covid-19 crisis established a brand-new trend, which I call 'HERD-THINK'.
I strongly believe rapid transformation of communication dissemination through social media has impacted national decisions being made for 'popular perception' and 'social-noise' instead of rational analysis, expert opinion, historic experience and ancient knowledge.
HERD-THINK is now an official decision-making process for individuals, families, organisations, societies and even nations, unfortunately.
As societies get increasingly organised, there is a trend of unnatural neutralisation of individualist thinking. Adding fuel to this unnatural fire are mega social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp which have provided space for not just the best, bright and beautiful minds but also weird, disturbed, idiotic and deviant.
It is natural that the din of negative chatter, trends, empty outrage drowns the positive, creative and excellent million times over. The result is what you see on almost all social media platforms every day – 'social-noise', the voice of the frustrated and the worst in the society. As these platforms provided a vent for the frustrated-lot to express, it surely should lead to some healthy-relief and emotional satiation. However, this 'social-noise' of the underperformers in the society has reached a point, that it is pressuring individuals, professionals, organisations and even governments to make decisions towing their line of thought. Imagine the disaster.
The result of this recent phenomenon of this decade is 'Herd-Think'. It is axing creativity like never, and it has wiped off the thick line between a professional and an amateur. The respect and position for excellence and expertise is slowly vanishing, even in the most progressive and excellence promoting nations in the world.
I outline some of the fast-paced changes which are sweeping the world through 'Herd-Think' and impacting the individual, social and national decisions without well analysed reason, pragmatism, experience and knowledge.
Everyone Is An Expert-In-Everything:
We are in a world today, where everyone is an expert at everything, and it's claimed even professionally. Google has altered the meaning of 'knowledge' and 'expertise', to push the regulars to surf the web for 'information' and use it to DIY [do it yourself] and even claim expertise. There can be certainly few benefits to search for relevant information before finding an expert to deliver the outcomes. But claiming to be an expert with shallow information from the web, could be sometimes even fatal.
There are so many psychologists, therapists, programmers, analysts, chefs and even teachers who must depend on google and other web applications to every day to deliver their roles. The dangers of information online which these shadow professionals use is driven by 'Herd-Think', as there are no customised learnings for role delivery anymore – One size, fits all.
This trend is bound to lead to lowered respect and economic value to real-professionals and experts. If the market is full of DIY professionals with half-baked knowledge, it's not easy for professionals and experts to survive in the real world. Imagine a world without real experts.
No wonder during Covid-19 crisis, it is not professionals who are making decisions, most decisions are being made based on popular-voice, social-noise and 'Herd-Think' driven from across the world through social media platforms.
The 'social noise' will react against any nation or a national leader to bully, abuse, snide, mime and slander, if he were to take a different, well-informed decision based on his nation's demographics, psychographics, economy or even disease-resistance pattern. They believe, one must blindly follow the other, like themselves. Herd-think is what they will accept.
Mind you, most of these folks are no-experts in any areas concerned with Coivd-19, but they know what is a 'perfect decision'.
Power Of The Dumb
The power of 'Herd-Think' is unimaginable. If one follows 'trends' on Twitter or Face book, one can realise how many millions blindly 'trend the hashtag' for many reasons, and 'rational' 'well-informed opinion' need not be one of those reasons. All 'Social media trends' are initiators of this 'Herd-Think'.
Beliefs are 'core' to one's decision making. These social media trends plant new beliefs daily. There are no checks and balances to assess or evaluate, if one is being led in the right direction about what they are believing. If the 'trending' is big, the belief is right. That's the way 'Power of Dumb' originates across the world. The millions who believe, what they believe will try their best to ensure anyone who doesn't believe are heckled, abused, mimed, till they surrender.
In reference to Covid-19, the 'Power of Dumb' is so huge, that it is leading to massive pain to regular people. With volumes of fake and unverified information on this disease, there is increased discrimination of the infected, harassment in residential complexes, alienation of those not wearing masks, promotion of false Covid-19 rituals, new medications, new symptoms and new restrictions with neither right to interfere nor verified expert information. The beliefs which are reinforced on the social media platforms are being executed in real-life, with a dumb presumption, that everything they know is a fact.
Strong Leadership –Need Of The Hour
Covid-19 is just one big global pandemic. There can be many such challenges to humans in the future. It is essential that national leaders follow traditional methods of 'rational analysis', 'pragmatic approach to resolving problems', 'seeking expert-advice', using 'historic experience' and 'ancient knowledge' to resolve challenges of this degree and size, than fall pray to 'Herd-think'.
Herd-feel, Herd-think and Herd-act is a cycle which has impacted the world during Covid-19 crisis. Strong leaders understand that they need to make decisions in the interest of their own nation and then, the world. 'Social-voice', 'Social-noise', 'Power of the Dumb' should not intimidate them to make decisions which can have massive consequences to their own nation and the world.
(The writer is the chief spokesperson of the BJP Telangana State unit, a global leadership coach and an organisational strategist)