Letters to the Editor: You want to make change, but you found QAnon. Blame social media branding
To the editor: This comment in your article on the embrace of false QAnon conspiracy theories in California’s wellness community struck a chord: “Being controversial, taking definitive positions that make people love you or hate you, is a great way to build your brand.”
Polarized social media marketing is so compelling that even the most prudent business often must engage politically. Companies must find a connection with customers or lose them to others that pump up the volume.
Can people’s attention instead be drawn toward local community and democratic associations? Rather than being caught up in the next rage, what people might be seeking is agency, a way to be heard, a way to affect the world around them.
Moreover, when people come face to face with others with different political beliefs to work together to solve problems and build bridges, they realize their differences are actually pretty minor.
Clark Evans, Chicago
To the editor: It’s frightening that recent polls show 1 in 6 American adults believes the QAnon lie that Satan-worshiping pedophiles are trying to control the country. It’s also frightening that nonbelievers who had relationships with them are severing ties.
How will QAnon adherents ever discover the truth if they are influenced only by those who share their views?
There are people in my life with ideologies that are based on a distrust of our institutions, a denial that racism exists in our country and a suspicion of immigrants. I maintain relationships with these people because I do not want to contribute to an “us versus them” mentality. Occasionally the opportunity presents itself to suggest a book, an article or a documentary that might influence them.
I view these people as conned, not crazy. Spreading misinformation is very lucrative. QAnon’s popularity is fueled by the fact that being controversial is a great way to make money. This playbook is used very successfully in the media and in politics.
If we retreat into our ideological bubbles, we will never have a chance to understand or influence each other.
Fiona Carroll, Mission Viejo
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