I am not totally down on social media, meaning that I don’t automatically hate everything about it. Yes, it is often trite and inane. But that’s the nature of the beast—so, “It is what it is.” Social media, by and large, is a venue for gossip. Once we understand its primary function we can moderate our response accordingly.
Being a wanderer on the “road less traveled,” it does let me stay in touch with family and friends. And it does allow me to add new friends to my ever-increasing circle of acquaintances. It’s fast and, for the most part, efficient. No wasted hours with quill, ink and parchment.
But in too many cases, I think, it has become reactive rather than proactive. Whereas the scribes of yesteryear spent considerable time developing, organizing and communicating their thoughts—today we tend to react, in knee-jerk fashion, to shallow jingoism and un-vetted aphorisms.
In other words, we know too much about one another. Or do we? Because, often as not, we are merely “sharing” posts amongst ourselves, and not developing our own original thoughts about a subject of importance (I include myself in this practice). And many of these posts are provocative in nature, and meant to push our respective hot buttons.
I wish it weren’t so. I think that the internet (including social media) could be a real boon to mankind potentially, but that potential isn’t even close to being realized. For real communication I use this blog, and I link it to social media in the hopes that just maybe it will provoke (in a positive way) some individual thought.
But raising the benchmark on social media is analogous to trying to plug the dike against the ocean’s flood. In this case the flood is information (not seawater), and should not be confused with knowledge. Sadly, social media is still a venue for gossip, and not really utilized for serious discussion.
We know too much about one another. But I don’t think we really do. The human animal is too complex for mere labels. Steve is: a Marxist, a Communist, a Socialist, an Atheist, an Agnostic, a Buddhist; Steve is un-American, Steve is anti-everything, Steve is a hero, Steve is a coward, Steve has no values, Steve has too many (pie-in-sky) values. Steve is none of those things, and Steve is all of those things.
But you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. And maybe that’s as it should be. In the good ole days we didn’t know so much, and I think maybe we were better for it. I would suggest that we spend just a little more time thinking, before we blindly vomit up our provocations on social media.