The Destructive Influence of Social Media

I read two new stories this morning. Both referred to “social media” as important influencers in the thread of the development of the story, and how it was twisted from original intent into something mailicious and destructive.

About 2 weeks, maybe 3 weeks ago, I stopped logging in to my social media accounts. I have not deleted them. I’ve been ignoring them as far as I am able. They feel like an addiction to me. The “desire”  to log in has been strong at times. But – I’ve managed to overcome it.

One story from this morning referred to a high school prom photo where the boys seemingly gave the “nazi salute,” was not that at all. It was boys waving to their families on the steps of a public building. But the photographer caught them with their hands up at a particular angle, and it was dubbed the “nazi salute” photo on social media. The town was flabbergasted by the response of the world to this, and didn’t understand how things could get so blown out of proportion so fast. Of course, it disappeared so fast I can’t now provide a link to it.

The other story was more political drama from Washington D.C. that was, of course, spun out of reality into some fantasy nightmare because the headlines were all that was offered – unless I spent time – RIGHT THEN – to read it all the way through. Regardless of other tasks demanding my attention.

That’s one of the things with social media.

It moves so fast that it can bombard us with many images, ideas and concepts in the flash of an instant, and then disappear, never to be found again, as it disappears down some black hole of cyberspace.

With the mis-directed efforts of Zuckerberg and Sanderberg, or the ill-equipped mental capacities of their teams, whatever the cause, we have a lethal brew building that can take down whatever humanity we have left as a species.

Humans lost all moral superiority over 200 years ago when they began to pollute the world and exterminate indigenous populations in the name of “progres.” The current attack on our humanity, morals, and values are due in large part to the daily feed of unrest, disillusionment, and radicalization of the parts of our society instead of the “coming together” of our planet.

Social media, with it’s 160 character limit of attention-span denies us the deeper picture. It denies us the interchange that can levy the various differences between us into a small thing, instead of the only thing, that sets us apart. To be a radical, racist, value-driven, white, brunette with brown eyes, is the only thing that matters when you are a radical, racist, value-driven, white, blonde with blue eyes.

Remember that class experiment between the blue-eyed and brown-eyed kids that was such an eye-opener?

You haven’t heard of that?

Try watching the PBS documentary. It’s truly eye-opening in it’s scope. It was a “must-watch” in my college classes. Examining the behavior of the children – even 50 years later – remains a project that is followed by many scientific communities.

I don’t think the idea behind social media is wrong.

I’m just not sure that people are evolved enough to truly use it correctly. It’s too easy to be manipulated by images and a quick phrase. It’s too easy to dismiss the obvious blunders because some Joe someplace says “this” about “that” instead of using our own over-burdened intelligence to dig deeper into a story and evaluate it on the full facts.

Taking a break, deleting your accounts, may not be the answer. After all, who wants to leave their friends behind and curl back into oblivion instead of compulsively posting every meal we eat and every handshake we make? I for one, am glad to be out of that compulsion. I might still take the photo, but I don’t have to share it with the world. Only my little memory book.

I’ll take my smaller life, thank you.

It feels better. I’m not radicalized every time I hear or see something and therefore I can think more critically and evaluate the full story. I can keep my emotions from bouncing all over the place like a 30-second news cycle and giving myself palpitations as I react to every photograph or caption.

This “social media experiment” is not something we are quite ready for, yet. Maybe in another 50 years, Mr. Zuckerburg.

And until Mr. Zuckerburg can stand the heat and take responsibility for his creation, maybe he should stop allowing it to be used and manipulated, and stop sharing people’s meta-data with whoever pays his price.

 

*image courtesy https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiSjuururThAhUUj54KHZ3HDekQjxx6BAgBEAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsachtimes.com%2Fen%2Fworld%2Fsocial-media-services-may-be-banned-for-6-months-in-kashmir%2F&psig=AOvVaw092_nBJmJLukU0nMWlYzL7&ust=1554398954971282

 

 

 

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