With regards to Social Media, I must say that I first had a rather poor opinion of Facebook and an even worse opinion of Twitter. “Who can say anything in only 140 characters?” is what I used to say. However, I’m finding that my opinion has changed over the last several months. Now I use Facebook to post information on social and political issues, and use it, like many others, as an instrument of change. My feelings about Twitter have changed as well.
This election cycle (USA) there has been a plethora of insightful political observations and some thought provoking discourse in the Twitterverse. Granted there is still a great deal of snarkyness, sarcasm, and humor, both kind and cruel. The Twitterverse provides a rather interesting and unique forum for debate with very close to real time interaction. Twitter has become a modern day agora bringing together people from across the world without them having to leave their homes. Don’t misunderstand me; I still think there are inherent flaws in both media that lend themselves to abuse but there is something that is both a flaw and an advantage.
That something is anonymity. “Trollery” aside, please consider this; when you converse with someone face to face you often have preconceived notions based the physical appearance of the person opposite you. This is just something we do to as humans we assess, categorize, and define everything around us including people. Twitter allows us an opportunity eliminate some of those preconceptions because we may choose not to show your face in a profile picture. Granted people can often ascertain your gender from your name, but other things like ethnicity and age are only learned if shared. It can be a way for introverts like me to have their voices heard, because in person we may feel hesitant or stifled. To conclude, I do think that social media can be a force for good in the world. By finding, following, and “friending” unique individuals, while viewing the whole conversation; there is potential for mind expanding and thought provoking insights into our world and the lives of others. So enjoy the pageantry and the philosophy. Try to keep an open mind with a willingness to learn. Share the love while admonishing hate, all while being mindful of sophistry and trolls.