I read an article the other day that said that the age group most affected by social media was the elderly. Since covid came out, I realized that the category of elderly means anyone over 65, including me. Apparently my cohort is most susceptible to finding misleading information on line and believing it. From thinking that covid is a hoax to taking aquarium cleaner to combat it(and then dying) we seem unable to separate truth from fiction on line. I have been reflecting on that for a while and thought I might explore the reasons for this phenomenon.
For many years if we wanted to remove someone from a photo we had to use scissors. Of course when looking through a photo album it became quite clear that something had been altered. People my age generally assumed that a photo was an accurate depiction of an event. If someone was missing it was because they had been literally cut out.
While many of my readers are well aware of the abilities of Photoshop and other editing software to alter images, many older people are not. To the uneducated eye, the photo on the right is as true a depiction of a gathering as the one on the left. Photoshop has removed the shadow of the far right person and filled in the space with grass resembling the rest of the landscape. Now she was never there. But more damaging is the same ability to insert someone into a photo. Now suddenly Obama is talking to terrorists thanks to Photoshop. And many older Americans will believe it because they trust that seeing is believing.
We are the generation propagandists have heretofore only dreamt of.