Time was, only politicians were expected to speak in soundbites, but these days, writes Simon Dumenco in Advertising Age, "tens of millions of us do it as a matter of course." Twitter and other social media have made us all into reaction machines, with errors and exaggerations cropping up and multiplying with record speed, beyond anyone's control. For Dumenco, "we're all living in some Bizarro universe where we're constantly debating stuff that's not actually up for debate."
The columnist is no Luddite—he cites the global reaction to the death of Neda Agha-Soltan as a particularly successful social media moment. But that's an exception; most of the time, everyone from your kid brother to a certain "demonstrably clueless" ex-governor now pounds out reactions with little understanding, and then reactions to the reactions, and so on into infinity. It's a scary moment, says Dumenco, one of "misattribution, misreading and general derangement of reality."