Sunday, May 1, 2016

five problems with social media

What? Only five? Okay, here goes ...

1. Anonymous - If words had real world consequences, social media wouldn't attract so much ugly. There is power in being able to spew nasty words at strangers with no regard for any potential feedback.

2. We need pre-post monitors - I wish warnings could pop up for the less astute among us. Examples: "Evidence-based science has disproved this information. Only stupid people believe it. Do you still want to post it, thereby exposing yourself to endless ridicule?"  OR  "This person died three years ago. Do you still want to post this announcement as if it just happened, thereby exposing yourself to endless ridicule?"  OR  "You have already posted ten pictures of (fill-in-the-blank) today. Do you still want to post another, thereby exposing yourself to endless ridicule?" OR  "There are hundreds of cities in California without the letter A in them. Don't answer this obvious scam and expose yourself to endless ridicule."

3. It demands nothing of us. What if you had to exercise to gain access? Or donate your time to a charity? Or offer positive comments to someone? Or any of a thousand other service-related tasks? Would we spend less of our time farting around on social media?

4. When I see people sitting at a table, ignoring each other in favor of their devices, I wonder at the social development they're missing. I think about sitting on a front porch when I was a young girl, listening to people of multiple generations sharing stories and experiences. What becomes of people who rarely hear other people's stories?

5. A lot of what we see on social media follows an obvious us/them paradigm. Now, more than ever, we need to be teaching, learning and practicing the skill of finding common ground. As time progresses, we are headed for an explosion of epic proportions if we can't see each other as valuable human beings, especially when we disagree.

There are obviously so many more problems with social media. But there are good things as well. I adore watching my former students living their lives. It's an amazing gift. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

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