American Elephants


What Do We Do When Social Media Isn’t Social At All? by The Elephant's Child

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The watchmen at the big social media websites are busily trying to police the flow of conversation that they initiated with their ideas about how to become rich and powerful. They thought people would like to share their thoughts, news, ideas, recipes and pictures with their friends. They have indeed become rich and powerful, but they forgot everything they learned in grade school and junior high, or perhaps did not learn about human nature.

The perpetrators of the constant hum of the online conversation we call “social media” blame any problems on “hate speech”, a poorly defined selection of words that someone, somewhere, objects to. All too often, it is simply the opinion of someone in the opposing political party.

One can say whatever one chooses if they agree with what you say, but your words must pass tests of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual preference, age, political affiliation, part of the country you come from, and a few dozen other qualifying questions. Vulgarity is fine, and broadly circulated, as is any amount of coarseness, crassness, crudity, grossness, indelicacy, rawness, rudeness and tastelessness or don’t you read the comments on popular websites? Here is one definition I found:

Primarily internet or cellular phone based applications and tools to share information among people. Social media includes popular networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter; as well as bookmarking sites like Reddit. It involves blogging and forums and any aspect of an interactive presence which allows individuals the ability to engage in conversations with one another, often as a discussion over a particular blog post, news article, or event.

Having created this mess and trying desperately to find a way to manage the flow of conversation or discussion before the government steps in to slap them down, as Europe is already beginning to do, they are attempting to pacify by creating “independent” judges to parse your speech for anything that might get them in trouble. The fact that they are simultaneously parsing your speech to sell to advertisers is a separate problem.

Human nature. We are a quarrelsome lot. We have a hard time getting along with our immediate family, let alone a bunch of complete strangers. People do not speak well, and write even less well. We have a hard time saying what we mean, and it is usually poorly thought out. We have never really thought clearly about the big questions, let alone the little ones. That’s why Jordan Peterson has made such an impact. He tries to clarify what we are thinking and saying and point out where we have gone astray.

Oddly, with the enormous increase in people using social media, psychologists tell us that loneliness is an increasing problem. I think in the effort to connect people, we have created far greater problems that are just beginning to emerge. I suspect we may have been better off when you had to pick up the phone and dial your friend’s house, and didn’t stay on the line too long because it would cost too much.

I think this phenomenon has had some very unfortunate effects on our society that we do not yet understand. If you have any answers let me know.


2 Comments so far
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Oddly, with the enormous increase in people using social media, psychologists tell us that loneliness is an increasing problem.

I think the cause and effect are reversed– when I was a kid, people were often horrible and bullies were being enabled in the schools, and there was nowhere to go before I discovered the old Yahoo bulletin boards. And that was with more options to interact with people a year or two older and younger than I was, and a job where I could interact with those outside of the school system and a decent amount of unstructured time.

Now kids are even more locked into only being allowed around people their own grade level and in structured settings, it’s almost impossible to be hired as a teen, the bullies are even more extreme (often with open teacher support, such as that teacher who flipped out on a kid wearing a USMC shirt), so of course people both are more isolated and are using “social media” more.

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Comment by Foxfier

I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this weblog on regular basis to get updated from latest reports.

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Comment by independent.academia.edu




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