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A Criticism of Social Media — Guest Post by Jim Fedako

Twitter

Twitter has significance only due to its secondary market. Though I follow only 46 tweeters via my Twitter account, I cannot keep up with even that small subset of the more than 300 million active users putting out a combined 500 million tweets per day. It is all noise, at least to me. So much so that I rarely monitor my Twitter feed. Yet, I still see tweets of significance. How so?

Twitter is the primary market for tweets—a true tautological statement. But that is not my market. Nor is it the market for most folks. Instead, we rely on the secondary market to filter out the noise and provide the significant.

The secondary market of tweets is any source that notes tweets—typically, those that outrage. So, while I never saw a Trump tweet or retweet via my Twitter feed, each morning I get to see his latest offering of midnight rants. News sources (mainstream and otherwise), blogs, Facebook, etc., provide screen captures of those tweets, along with responses, and response to responses, plus all the commentary and associated outrage and indignation. It all there, without the noise.

I claim that without the secondary market, Twitter would fade into another MySpace—not quite gone, but mainly ignored and almost forgotten.

School assemblies

A persistent and ubiquitous fear in high school was getting unwanted attention. Not in front of teachers or administrators, but in front of peers—real social pressure. So, for the most part, kids kept their uproars below the level that would hush the crowd and have all heads turn. In other words, I never—and I do mean never—saw another student stand up at an assembly and regale the crowd with his latest exploits. Yet, students today will post the very same for the world to see, as if their post will not draw unwanted attention.

Telling the dirty joke

In a similar vein, folks (and I am talking adults now) temper their remarks to their immediate audience. Yet any social media post is the same as standing at the office gathering, neighborhood block party, family reunion, etc., and sharing away to all at the same time. And when there is a reaction that leads to a negative result, the one posting is shocked—as are many others. They ask, “What has become of this world? Where is my freedom of speech?” I suggest nothing has changed, other than social media broadens the audience. And your freedom of speech applies only to government (though, “applied” is the correct tense), not those who hear or read your words.

Sharing your every thought or dirty joke was never safe in all audiences. We know that. So we should act in that manner and not be outraged at expected reactions.

Look, if your post is not for all to see, keep it off the Internet and—as was always the case—to your confidants. And watch what you yell for all to hear. A hush may fall and heads may turn.

That bikini picture

When I was younger, no female student—and again, I mean no female student—ever shared her bikini photos at the school assembly and asked all to comment. Nevertheless, that happens with regularity these days. Sure, the medium is different—a photo on the Internet instead of a piece of Kodak paper. However, while the action is the same, the effect is magnified. At least once the physical picture was back in hand, the vision would fade with time. Today, the vision will likely remain for ages.

Who is to blame? Parents, for allowing their daughters to act on youthful whims. They should have told their daughters that girls should act otherwise.

However, blame does not end here. You cannot read a social media post from a female (YouTube being the worst) without reading vile misogynistic quotes from males. Many are so abhorrent that it makes me wonder about my gender. I have to ask, where are (were) the parents to tell their sons (young and old) that, regardless of the situation and the son’s assumed anonymity, females are to be treated with respect. You do not share your every base thought with the world (and most of those thoughts you should not even have), even if you can hide behind an avatar.

Safe spaces

I sometimes wonder if safe spaces are a reaction to the effects of social media, where children (mainly young females) seek approval from the faceless Internet, though finding more vile than virtue. Just think, years of wanting and abuse have to leave a mark. And why not lash out at others over every perceived slights? It almost seems like a rational response.

Parents, protect your kids from the Internet—and raise your girls in safety and your sons as gentlemen. Adults, remember your funny (to you, anyway) joke, comment, or opinion on Facebook, etc., will be heard by your family, coworkers, employers, neighbors, etc. Think before you type.

6 thoughts on “A Criticism of Social Media — Guest Post by Jim Fedako Leave a comment

  1. Women and girls are just as guilty of sharing vile base actions and thoughts. There are no ladies anymore. Men are mostly guilty of not shaming the women for the behavior. You may exempt women out of politeness or the “don’t pick on the girl” belief, but I’m not bound by it and my sex is just as vile and base as yours.

  2. The major purpose of Twitter appears to be picking fights. It is a prime example of how a technological advance (instant brief communication) devolves into something that produces as much disadvantage as benefit.

    And the phenomenon is inaptly named. When I was a child near midpoint of the last century occasionally I would sleep in a screened porch on hot summer nights. Just before dawn the birds began a cacophonous chirping so boisterous I could not pick out the notes of a single song. That’s the modern Twitter, a roar instead of light tremulous sounds.

  3. Sheri, thank you for your correct usage. Gender applies to concepts and inanimate objects. Sexually reproducing biological organisms do not have genders. They have their two sexes. Male and Female and that’s it. Hermaphrodites, among humans, are developmental anomalies (accidents). For those species where they can switch or have fully functional sexual capabilities while being hermaphrodites in form, they’re still sexually reproducing via their male and female parts.

  4. The environment today with what is spewing out of out TVs (hollywood) and now with the internet, no wonder our kids have no morals and don’t even know what they are. Best to own no TVs and homeschool your kids, and watch all they do when online.

  5. Jim,

    Wow you really did it, make a criticism of social media without ever mentioning how Russia duped grown men into voting for the village idiot.

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