Like most disruptive advances in technology, social media has its share of advantages and disadvantages.
Social media has made a huge difference to our social and business lives, massive advantages for Internet marketers and on-line businesses. A whole new industry with an impressive range of careers with the words “social media” in the job titles. Even a few people who really are experts, as opposed to the hundreds of self-proclaimed gurus with a few Facebook friends, a twitter account and not a lot more.
The speed with which news can be rapidly spread to thousands or even millions of people has its benefits when the news being spread is in the interests of the majority of the population, for example: to raise awareness of natural disasters, organise assistance, coordinate relief efforts and provide updates.
It is questionable whether the same ability used irresponsibly by minority groups to cause chaos, wide-spread protests, attempt to bring about a state of anarchy and hamper the law enforcement agencies is in a society’s best interest as a whole. Depends which side one is on I suppose.
Social media was praised as the instrument that ignited the “Arab Spring”, it looks like that has led to many people in the affected countries now being worse off than before, a case of be careful what you wish for?
The speed and ease with which possibly innocent people can be crucified in social media ( and then in the “old” media) is disturbing. Even if all the allegations are later thrown out in court, the damage to reputations, careers, families and sometimes the victim’ s health, has been done. The effects may well be both disastrous and irreversible.
It is very worrying to see evidence that in some cases, the authorities appear to be more concerned with taking action that is acceptable to the social media vigilantes than the sensible considered action the facts call for.
Social media is certainly a double-edged sword, it is going to be interesting to see how it evolves and whether irresponsible minorities abuse it to the point that the authorities feel compelled to enforce restrictions to protect the responsible, law-abiding majority. I hope that day never comes, but I can see how easily it could become necessary to silence platforms like twitter to restrict communication in the event of widespread unrest. Quite easy to order cell phone service providers to turn of signal towers, Mugabe in Zimbabwe knows how to do it when he wants to stop the opposition organising support.
Social media is extremely efficient at spreading bad news or negative stuff. We can get a whole range of flavours of the same bit of depressing news by visiting all our various social media accounts.
- An abbreviated version with a link on twitter.
- A longer version with a link and a photo on Facebook or Google Plus.
- An even longer version with photos and links to videos on tumblr.
- A video on You Tube.
- A discussion about it in a Linked In group.
- Perhaps even a graphic or photo of it on Pinterest.
- Snippets or links with all the curating tools like Scoop.it .
No wonder so many people are miserable with so many channels competing to smother us in bad news.
Perhaps that is why cat photos and videos are so popular – a healthy distraction from all the gloomy stuff. That is the better, friendlier, more cuddly side of social media, the ability to share interesting information, photos, videos and links with small or large groups of family, real or “virtual” friends. Let’s hope it evolves into something that improves on that function and does not become a weapon of mass destruction.
With all the bad news that we are continually subjected to, it is a pleasant change to find a website devoted to good news.
Youmeworks.com has a section full of good news from around the planet here is the link Good News
There is a good variety of stories there, a refreshing change to most of what is broadcast at us by the media, old and new.
What do you think about social media? A force for good, an irritating disruption or a dangerous weapon?
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
Bomb Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net