Social media could have been a great communication mechanism. It could have been a forum for the exchange of information and the exchange of ideas. It could have brought people together. Any chance of that happening seems to have been lost. It is a great loss for all of us and there seems to be little likelihood of recovery.
Should we blame the creators of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for this?
No! It is doubtful that they intended to design tools that would be used in socially destructive ways.
Then again, yes we should. These technology giants have done little to curb blatant and increasing misuse by the public. For that failure, they deserve sharp reproach. They have harmed the opportunity they created and the uninterrupted wealth that could stream to them from its use.
However, the real blame falls on the users of this capability. People should know better but far too many do not or just don’t care. It is easy to pass along misinformation, exaggeration or outright lies broadly and publically. Must we fact-check everything? Where do we go to do that?
Social media has also made it fast and easy to spread hate. Name calling has become an art form. For those too cowardly to do so using their real identity, a false identity can be used.
If something that offends us is posted, it takes just seconds to fire back with an equally offensive response. With people being so easily offended these days, the resultant exchange of insults is instantaneous and non-stop. People go so far as to “un-friend” loved ones.
We are told that we live in a deeply divided nation. We do and that will remain true until we wise up. Will that day ever come? In the meantime, we own our thanks for societal division to the creators and administrators of social media tools and to those who abuse the use of those tools.
Over and Out!