April 4, 2024

Pro-Social with Tobias Rose-Stockwell: A Recap

Tobias Rose-Stockwell discusses the social media Outrage Machine.

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Tobias Rose-Stockwell discusses the social media Outrage Machine.

Tobias Rose-Stockwell joined us on March 21st to talk about the social media Outrage Machine.. and What We Can Do About It, the topic and title of his recent book. Tobias is an author who has been thinking creatively for years about how to reverse the tide of toxic content online, so we were excited to hear his topline thoughts on what designs can mitigate the rage.

After walking us through how social media - and he - arrived at this point, Tobias talked about how one of the drivers of online outrage, our identity, can also be harnessed to bring out prosocial interaction. Outrage is fueled when we feel our identities threatened by "others", but platform design can tripwire the rage reaction by calling on our shared - or "superordinate" - identities. Identity indicators can also build trust, another central theme of Tobias' thinking, by signaling for example that someone is an expert on a topic.

Also on the theme of trust in the Q&A, Tobias shared some of his more recent thinking on how we might draw from Robert Axelrod's paradigm of cooperation, which posits that trust is created in the real world when three conditions are met: there are win-win situations, low miscommunication and repeated interactions. Design features could foster trust for, by example, making it possible to indicate understanding, with the double payload of creating more win-win moments and facilitating communication.

Take in the full conversation with Tobias below and, since there's no way we could have covered all the gems in his book in fifteen minutes, don't let us stop you from getting a copy.

About the Prosocial Design Network

The Prosocial Design Network researches and promotes prosocial design: evidence-based design practices that bring out the best in human nature online. Learn more at prosocialdesign.org.

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