I had an interesting conversation with a friend about social media and how it has changed the world as we know it.
For many, social media serves as a channel of communication for family, friends, and colleagues to keep in touch, share ideas, and exchange pleasantries. For others, it has become the pulpit from which political, religious, racial, and other points of view are distributed.
I am not saying this is a bad thing, as we all have our perspectives on life, and the freedom to share our views in this country more than most. I welcome differing viewpoints shared in a civil manner. (Isn’t this what we once did sitting with friends in a social gathering while enjoying a beverage of some sort?)
I think the thing I find most difficult in all of this is how social media has evolved and continues to evolve into just another communication channel for mass media, politicians, etc., provoking outrage, hatred, and discontent throughout our society.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets originally created to bring people together, are now the cause of splits between friends, families, communities, and society as a whole. Not because of the technology, but by the way this technology is used by we humans.
In My View
The thing that is lacking, and seldom taught anymore, is social etiquette and soft skills like acceptance, personal interaction, respect for others opinions, and the ability to communicate without taking everything as a personal attack.
This needs to be taught by example from parents, leaders, the media, and educators. In our society, we have the right to an opinion and to voice that opinion. We also have a responsibility to respect there are other opinions without taking things personally and immediately attacking those who do not see the world as we do.
Use the social technologies and embrace that we can now communicate with each other in more ways than ever imagined, but do so with respect as this is one of the most basic freedoms we have – Freedom of Speech – something which many around the world are denied.
Don’t let our social communities devolve into yet another battleground.