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January 19, 2021
5:30 pm - 6:45 pm


A Zoom event under Chatham House rule

Non-Fiction Book Group: Disruptive Social Media

A Melbourne Forum Interest Group

Hosted by:
Peter Lamell
Dianne Jacobs

January 19, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm


Why does fake news spread faster than the truth? Do products and ideas become popular because they are good or because they are rated highly online? How does influence actually work and what does it mean to be influential? Which strategies and tactics can help businesses survive and thrive in the New Social Age?

The Hype Machine’ is a brilliant smart-thinking book about the power and influence of social media. Professor Sinan Aral (Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy) shows how ‘hyper-socialisation’ has profoundly changed us.

Digital platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are injecting the influence of peers into our daily decisions, driving the products we buy, how we vote and even who we love.

Human beings have always been a social species. We’ve been communicating and cooperating with one another since the dawn of time. But today, something is different. Over the last decade, we’ve doused the fire of human interaction with high octane gasoline. We’ve created technologies that massively amplify the ways in which we interact with one another, automated by machine intelligence that is designed to inform, stimulate and entertain us. Together these technologies constitute what Sinan Aral calls the ‘Hype Machine’.

The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health–and How We Must Adapt (HarperCollins Publishers, October 2020) is packed with original research conducted by Aral and his team and describes the impact of social media on statecraft, politics, voting, business and public health, and shows us how to adapt our society to the hyper-socialised state the Hype Machine has wrought.

This is a fascinating book that provides counterintuitive and surprising answers to some of the most hotly debated topics of our connected, digital era, as it impacts society.

Click on the Ex Libris image for member-only content about the book, subscribe to the posts, find resources on how the FAANG companies are influencing how we live and govern or watch author interviews. We also explore the ACCC’s draft mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, specifically Google and Facebook.

This Melbourne Forum interest group gives us an opportunity to view contemporary themes through the lens of the non-fiction written word. Come with an open mind, hear differing perspectives and uncover what your fellow readers think.

As our group continues to meet, we’ll be posting on Ex Libris each new theme, book, written piece, poll or author interview for the interest group to explore.