Social Media Mess

5 Jun

I’ve had many conversations about social media. We know that it’s a mess. When abused, it carries lasting repercussions, to the point of ruining one’s career. What happened to us?

When I was a kid in school, we were taught the value of the written word. We studied how the written word was a monumental step in human progress. Then we learned how vital it was to print words. History is in our grasp today — because of the written word – because of the record.

We used to write our feelings in our diaries. Those who didn’t have journals or diaries (like me), we wrote it on a piece of paper, then burned it, buried it, whatever – to make sure it was hidden from people’s inquisitive eyes. I remember writing things that bothered me, things I hated, complaints about my parents, all things swirling around my adolescent mind. I needed to write them down. I needed to sort them out, take a step back, and evaluate what was happening in my mind. And in a moment of empowerment, we burned those notes… not because they weren’t important. In fact, just the opposite. They were so important, so close to our hearts, that the world did not deserve to know those details. The world was not good enough, not ready enough, not worthy enough to know our deepest thoughts.

Today is very opposite.

We have adolescents who spout off hatred on their twitter accounts without bothering to think about what they’re saying. They don’t even have the life experience or exposure to speak on such matters like racism, yet, they more than willingly blast their unfiltered thoughts into the twitter-verse. We have “journalists” now who, instead of carrying out their due diligence in writing and fact checking, quickly jot their thoughts down and send it out so easily for the world to digest. What happened to critical thought and research? What happened to editing and vetting, to make sure what you said was true? They treat twitter like it’s their research notepad or napkin, and the world receives it as if it were published news items.

I think that’s where it goes wrong. We have removed that filter, the editor in chief, the copywriters, the people who make sure our research is correct. Instead of going through the paces of making sure what you wrote was factual – we just broadcast our thoughts for the world to digest. Even News agencies now. Instead of going through the proper protocols of researching and fact checking, they just regurgitate useless information.

I wonder how history will judge our generation. What history will be told? Will wikipedia be the source of information? Will books or newspapers be the history that survives? Will it be twitter? One day, will our future grandchildren simply research what our tweets were concerning world issues. What a scary thought. Let’s put value back in the written word. Let’s make sure what we say really matters. And in the case when something is too precious and too important to us, then let’s write it down on a piece of paper…. then burn it.

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