What to Talk About When We Talk About Social Media

The world has gone through many major changes to look like what it is today. Now, an ongoing trend is yet again changing this world by attracting people’s attention from real life to digitized fantasy. Social media, generating gazillions of terabytes of traffic each day, however, accounts for little significant information. Even if there were anything worth noting, this valuable information is buried in the enormous amount of irrelevant data. This phenomenon is creating more problems than benefits. Our generation faces an imminent danger of being “brain-washed”.

The influence of social media is so great that most young people choose it as their main information source. A recent article published on The New York Times suggested that young people spend an average of 91 hours per month on their cellphones. That is 3 hours a day staring at a tiny screen. We live in an age where anything we produce we try to modify them small enough to be displayed on social media; then again, why wouldn’t we? Social media is like a gold mine, except that real gold mines may be mined out one day. Aside from taking a shower, I challenge you to give me one situation where people do not spend time on social media. They do so in bed, on a toilet, on public transport, in the driver’s seat, in a class, you name it. Now that I think about it, my college roommate had a SONY waterproof phone and he used it while showering. Congratulations social media, you have literally infiltrated everywhere including the one place where people actually spend quality time contemplating their lives.

When people spend so much time on something they insist on calling an information source––social media––it becomes really easy for anyone with a malicious intent to instigate a viciously emotional spree. Facebook was banned in China for this reason. Tibetan separatists used Facebook to disseminate rebellious discourse to anyone who was crazy enough to take it seriously. To the separatists I say: nice planning, you know the Chinese government is great at banning stuff, and you just got yourself cut off from communication with Chinese internet users. Where did your social media expert get his doctoral degree? Not from an academic institution I assume? Although to be fair, where did all social media so-called experts get their credentials anyways?

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Social media, I will give you the benefit of the doubt even though you clearly don’t deserve any. There will occasionally emerge something or someone seems to be appealing. Let’s just say I knew someone who––on social media––looks fine, I would even go as far as to say this person looked human on social media, while in real life this person is just the most obnoxious individual I have ever known. There, the benefit of the doubt just vanished; that seemingly rarefied beaming one-in-a-million positive instance on social media in the end turned out to be an illusion. People can conceal themselves so well on social media. Murderers can––if they want––disguise themselves as your warm chatty neighbor. An article published on Edinburgh News this May reported a tragic story of a 14-year-old girl being lured into a sex attack by a rapist posing as an “average Joe” using Facebook.

The list of problems caused by social media goes on, but there is something we can extrapolate from what we have discussed. Social media has a fatal defect of irresponsibility. The huge amount of nonsensical data generated each day is caused by irresponsible people saying irresponsible things. To vocalize your points, the traditional approach would be sending your article to a newspaper, and having editors approve them before you can make your points public. In this way people are held accountable for what they say. However, social media has provided a platform where no one proofreads anything, nothing needs to be verified before posting, anonymity overflows the brim of social media, therefore no one is really responsible for anything. People can hide their real identities on social media, which makes lying easier than ever; leading a double-life may sound like something that only spies are capable of doing, but with social media, you can present yourself as differently as possible.

Last tip: tell your troll friends on social media, the next time they want to say something stupid and irresponsible, please go to www.screamintothevoid.com.

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