Lyft is a competitor of Uber and recently ramped up their marketing campaign, well-before President Trump’s ban on select Muslim immigrants. Lyft made a marketing decision to try and buy public favor by donating money to the ACLU, which was admittedly smart. At the same time, Uber drivers (regular people that need the money) continued to pick up riders at airports across the country. Once again, people act out of blind emotion and rage, forgetting that Uber drivers are just normal people and that airport riders still need a ride home, even during public protests. Many are attacking the wrong people and hurting businesses that employee thousands of hard workers. The world doesn’t stop for public protests. Disclosure: I do not work for Uber and they do not pay me for these opinions.
Social Media Hypocrisy
Sometimes, social media can be a societal cancer because it’s the number one utility to spread misinformation, sensationalism, and perpetual outrage. The subjective nature of social media means that the most illogical, hypocritical, sensational, misleading, dishonest garbage can be communicated to a mass amount of people in just seconds. Companies know the power of social media for marketing.
Dangerous trend: “If you disagree with my exact political ideologies, I want you fired, to lose your home, kids, livelihood, business, out on the street, etc. On top of that, I’m going to label/call you a racist.” This is just one of many things being posted on social media. Surely, this is not how you would want to be treated.
According to Pew Research, at least 79% of Americans use Facebook and 24% use Twitter. Social media is a huge tool to rapidly communicate. This is also very scary because it can also be used to incite public unrest and attacks on innocent people.
There’s no better way to capitalize on upset people than to play to their emotions. You’ve got to be quick to catch people in their moments of outrage. Marketing people have to always ask: “what are they upset about today and how can we make money off of it.” Don’t think for a second that this isn’t reality. Worst of all, people frequently fall for marketing campaigns, as if they are acts of genuine concern for people or the environment.
“Delete Uber, or you’re a Nazi” says one anonymous social media user. Does that sound reasonable? That’s like telling someone to not go to work today, otherwise they are racist. What about the fact that the person must work to pay bills?
Who are you really attacking by attacking Uber?
According to a TIME report, Uber released statistics that showed over 21% of its drivers are female. You are attacking a large group of innocent females by attacking Uber.
Uber hasn’t disclosed exact numbers, but it is estimated that there are a significant amount of Muslim drivers that are driving for Uber. By attacking Uber, you are hurting Muslim drivers that are just trying to make ends meet.
Does this sound logical or reasonable to you? “If you go to work today so you can feed your child, pay your bills, keep your house, then you’re a racist that hates Muslims.”
There are too many parrots on social media that repost misleading, dishonest, hypocritical, sensational content without verifying it or understanding context. This only makes digital lynching more common and helps perpetuate a culture of endless outrage, sensationalism, and hypocrisy.
Why can’t people make their own decision to use Uber or Lyft? Why can’t we have both? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why do we have to constantly divide people with such shallow criteria? Are we this petty as a country that we defriend or attack people because they wanted to go home after a long trip? Should you be mad at Uber or President Trump?
So you say Uber’s CEO was picked by Trump to help advise the U.S. on business and you’re going to boycott or attack Uber now… Better not be a hypocrite because here’s the rest of the list:
• Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
• Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic
• Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase
• Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber
• Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company
• Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart
• Jim McNerney, former CEO of Boeing
• Elon Musk, CEO, SpaceX and Tesla
• Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
• Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
• Mark Weinberger, CEO of EY
• Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric
How many people will stop going to Walmart? Disney? Stop flying (Boeing)? Stop drinking Pepsi? Stop driving cars? Using computers? Stop supporting space exploration? Think of all of the people that work for these companies. If you attack them and stop being a customer, it only hurts regular people, in the end. It’s so much easier to be a hypocrite and pick and choose. Where is the consistency?
As you can see, many people are being totally unreasonable and demonstrating an outrageous level of hypocrisy. Maybe we should rethink who we are boycotting, why, and how exactly that helps?
Unfortunately, in America, if you dare to discuss politics, you will likely be attacked by roughly half of the country. We are so divided that as soon as someone finds out you identify as a democrat or republican, it’s like you become an outcast or villain. We are so divided that we cannot speak freely because someone might disagree with us and demand our jobs or blood. We are so divided that we excommunicate people for the shallowest reasons. There is a right and wrong, but it has nothing to do with identity politics. Both democrats and republicans should agree that political leadership on both sides have let them down. We will only be able to progress by embracing objective science, instead of failed political ideologies and labels.
Progression, Not Regression
There’s nothing wrong with peacefully getting involved in political movements, public discussions, meetings, and rallies. However, we can’t forget that people are already struggling with work, unemployment, everyday life, healthcare, and the environment. We have to make sure we’re not attacking innocent, average citizens with misguided outrage.
Scientists should always be communicating with people to remind them to double-check what they are being told, regardless of who says it. Scientists should remind people to focus on what’s important, improving, progressing, not attacking innocent fellow Americans.
There’s never been a more important time for scientists to become vocal, in the history of the U.S.
As always, we must be objective, scientific, fair to each other, and focus on what really matters.
We have to make sure our actions are reasonable, logical, helpful, and effective.
1. Don’t be a part of a digital lynch mob.
2. Don’t be a hypocrite and deny the fact that people need to be able to find a ride home. Uber drivers are just people. Essentially, when you attack Uber, you’re really attacking normal people that really need the money. Uber has a large Muslim driver population. By attacking Uber, you’re hurting Muslims that are already in our country and trying to earn a living. Treat others as you want to be treated.
3. Uber drivers have nothing to do with political leaders or executive orders, for crying out loud.
4. Let people choose whether they want to ride with Uber, Lyft, or a conventional taxi company. People should have choices in a free country, not be bullied into one or the other.
5. Stop reposting unverified, sensational, dishonest, misleading propaganda on social media. If you’re doing this, you’re part of the problem and force that is dividing this country.
6. Find something better to do with your time, instead of being perpetually outraged. Go volunteer for a homeless shelter, read a book, exercise, play guitar, study, go fishing, donate money to a good cause, etc.
Divided we fall.