After a tumultuous week of social observance, the calls to delete, unplug, keep scrolling, and disconnect are increasing. These times call for more cat memes, and fewer political posts, maybe…
Too often we forget that the root-word for ignorance is, ignore. In no way am I suggesting a person is ignorant for the act of avoidance, especially when that avoidance is due to information saturation, notwithstanding the probabilities of ingesting false information. However, the more we avoid, the less informed we become, even if we don’t like or are overwhelmed by that which we would rather avoid.
It’s easy to suggest that paring down, or disconnecting from social media altogether might be beneficial to one’s mental health, but with social media being the single most used form of communication in the 1st and 2nd worlds, this avoidance can only go so far. There is still, after all, the media. Also, there’s the 2nd hand smoke thing – what you don’t see on social media will find you at the water cooler or coffee shop anyway.
When I gave away my car 10 years ago, I did so because I no longer wanted to contribute to what I thought was the biggest disaster in history; manmade climate change. I felt empowered, and in some ways morally and intellectually superior to Joe Schlepasaurus, for my profound act of avoidance. Of course, it wasn’t too long before I realized that driving, regardless of its consequences, was part of our social structure, and necessary in the immediacy to keep our societies running. Driving less – or only when necessary might have been a better response to my concern over climate change.
One can make that argument with everything to from government, to the use of plastics, to institutionalism, and even alcohol. Limited is useful, has its place, and can be good for society. Too much… is bad.
Whether we like it or not, participate in it or not, social media is a part of where we are as a species today, and a major part of how we communicate. It will evolve into different forms, and lead people in different directions, and continue to influence our social structures. It will also continue to influence our behaviors, whether we like it or not. Once this level of mass intercommunication has been reached, like transportation, there is no going back, only a slow evolution of the system.
As to us being the unwitting puppets of social media’s algorithms, what upright doddering hominid hasn’t been influenced by them…? From scripture, to governance, to journalism, to entertainment, to the algorithms of Instagram, most of our thoughts and behaviors are the result data, agenda, and the people behind them.
This is where we’re at. Social media frustrates me as much as governments and freeway interchanges ever have, and yes, that means that on occasion it has caused me to host both murderous and suicidal thoughts. I don’t act on those thoughts, because the algorithms haven’t brought me there – not yet anyway.
But the upside of social media is phenomenal. So much of the good, and so many of the remarkable changes taking place in the world today are the result of social media, that it cannot be overlooked as the most useful instrument of change since gunpowder.
Delete your account. Scroll on past. Use it less. Post a cat meme, I get it. Global interconnectivity is increasing, it’s inevitable, and social media is, I’ll suggest, is one of the most important tools we will ever have to do good things in the world – even if it frustrates the shit out of us… Jhciacb
If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so. Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Mad Season. Enjoy…