Think of the last time you were in a crowd where someone freaked out. If the person in fear were alone in their feelings, the panic likely subsided reasonably quickly. Group calm is practical, a natural alternative, as others observe rationally. A composed well thought out approach allows us to contribute effectively. Yet, if in that same circumstance, there were several who panicked. It is likely their feelings overtook the entire group. A group will follow the dominant culture in either the elimination or activation of fear.
My childhood television options contained three primary choices (ABC, CBS and NBC). These stations operated in a limited state of competition during an age the FCC oversaw content. To my memory, there were few times, if ever, where the news spread panic as it does today. Unfortunately, cable companies have found fear is a great way to make a profit. Their ambitions aren’t to see that things in society will get better, but simply spread anger and alarm.
Add social media to the unease intentionally created, and you have mass hysteria. Twitter is built to maximize our emotions. They exist to insight feelings, and I would argue those that are intended for good have far less traction. These platforms act as do individuals in groups, by either becoming a calming agent (rare) or adding to the frenzy.
If panic is helpful, it should be used, but it rarely is needed. We are living in trying times where stories are aggrandized or taking us off track. Stay away from the sources that exist merely to create commotion. Do the work, find the truth from reliable sources. Contribute where you can with a calm, practical attitude.