The definition of this concept, stated 2016’s Word of the Year, is one that generates debate
The word post-truth has become a common term in politics, in the media, on social networks, in conversations among friends and family …
The Oxford dictionary declared it Word of the Year in 2016. But the truth is that the definition of post-truth is ambiguous, can be understood in several ways and generates much debate.
— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 15, 2016
This is how post-truth was defined in the Oxford dictionary: “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
A new way of narrating reality
Following that definition, post-truth is a way of telling reality, a narrative in which emotions or opinions seem to be more important than the facts. This new conception of truth gained popularity with the Brexit and the US elections.
Some experts consider that, during the Brexit referéndum, when the British choosing what was best for their country, they were more influenced by the emotional campaigns (rather than listening to factual information).
This type of argument was also decisive in Donald Trump’s victory as US President. Trump’s great argument was that he wanted “to turn America into a great nation again”, and that explanation had much more effect than any data or percentage that could contribute to prove it.
The spread of the Post-truth
However, there are also those who believe that post-truth is nothing more than a half-truth, or even a lie that is used to manipulate people’s opinion.
It’s happened with climate change: for decades, the global scientific community has warned about global warming and has proved this with data and studies. There is now an alternative post-truth to this, though : climate change is not such a serious issue and is produced by natural phenomena. What is more comfortable to believe?
Just like fake news. They go viral rapidly and very easily, internet and social media have helped for the post-truth and other ways of telling reality spread at great speed.