This may be me not totally grasping the concept we’re trying to debate, but I don’t exactly see where the argument is. Will social media lead to a more ideal democracy? Will the social platform lead to an increase of free and open discourse? Higher level of social consciousness? No, of course not. Social media platforms are not the place to decide policy, to create action, or to accomplish much of anything other than access to information.
Is social media creating some sort of mass delusion? Maybe, though if it is I think it’d only be one of many factors deluding the masses. I don’t know whether people truly believe that their public input on the hot political topic of the week matters. Clearly they value their opinions and regard their insight highly enough to post it publicly as a declaration to all online viewers that they, in fact, think. I do wonder whether or not they believe that anyone that reads their posts may change their minds. I wonder whether or not they realize the support they receive is not from people astounded by the depths and originality of their ideas but by people who have already thought the same things. I wonder whether they would have decided not to publicly vent their political frustrations if only they had a friend to speak to in person. If only everyone had a confidant.
I think the social media boom, and the half baked ideas shared on them contribute more to the rapidly increasing narcissism than to the delusion that one’s posts contribute to the world (lol). We live in a world where many people seem to prefer to lash insults at fellow human beings than to consider for a moment their beliefs to be misguided. If people wanted to change minds on the internet they might provide evidence of some sort supporting what they thought. They might consider the fact that the inability to find evidence supporting their claim may weaken their point slightly. Information is aplenty on the internet. A lack of informed citizens is no fault of Google’s. Our society is one of the deliberately ignorant, the overly prideful, and the disingenuous (but at least we’re #1).
Social media is not all bad however, it has it’s virtue. With so many individuals mightily disinterested in the community, social media is a form of highlights for the news. Many people nowadays don’t watch or read the news and get much of their information from the various social media platforms to which they subscribe. Social media gives various topics exposure and various people information. The impact of this is very often negligible, but all publicity is good, or so they say.
We now live in a world where you could theoretically never leave your home and still find all of your various needs met. Social media seems to give people who have forgotten how to be alone, the option to never have to be. Whether it’s impact is good or bad, I cannot say, but I can say I think it’s probably a reflection of who we are as a society. Rather than a force compelling slacktivism, it is a tool used by slacktivists. Whether I have missed the point entirely and have strayed too far off topic, I cannot say, but I can say I think I probably have. Feel free to correct me and tell me where I’ve gotten lost. I promise not to insult your mother if you do.
Insincerely, The Tragic Hero