The social dilemma

Joshua Hardee, Copy Editor

When any breaking news event occurs, like a school shooting or natural disaster, we expect ample coverage of it on both the news and social media. Likewise, when President Trump champions his agenda or there’s another replacement among his staff, posts start to flood Twitter. On a much lower level, most people will casually post comments about events and details of their engagements, being motivated by politics and/or their emotions. However, I still feel the effects despite not being on social media.

I’ve always recognized the positives and negatives of social media. Like any medium through which people communicate, genuine and whimsical contributions will exist alongside flat-out hateful comments. Social media, however, has opened the door for a much broader range of discussion than any platform before, and with it there’s virtually no barrier for anyone to join. With that being said, greater accessibility encourages individuals to post more – often more than is necessary or justifiable.

Of course, what someone posts is subject to their own opinion as well as like-minded followers. I find one’s pride about their own views is only increased by consuming media which promotes similar values and by support from like-minded readers. As this could happen to any of us, I recognize the need to be aware of what we post and how it can affect others, regardless of whether they share our views or not.

I want to clarify that all social media posts don’t need a greater purpose behind them. If that were the case, all posts would become too serious over time. Posts of that nature are always annoying in large amounts, even among our friends and family, especially when they are antagonistic to our views.

However, our intent in posting and its effect on readers should always be at the forefront of our minds.

Many people, myself included, steer clear of social media, and yet feel the impact of social media posts. For example, in some of my classes, I’ve learned about Trump’s Twitter posts, even though I don’t look for them on my own.

Not many of us have enough followers on social media to worry about many people being affected by us. Although we don’t bear the weight that comes with a massive following, we all post because we intend for people to view it and be affected by it. Correspondingly, the use of social media to gossip or for character assassination can be incredibly effective because of the reach of sites like Facebook or Twitter. This is potentially destructive if one’s opinion is unfounded or prejudiced.

These kinds of posts disinterest me from social media. I believe if anyone has a problem with someone else, then deal with them directly and keep it off the internet, or just keep it to yourself.

What I advocate for is greater consciousness of why we engage with social media and how all aspects of our posts impact others. Besides feeling neutral toward posts of actual or novel interest, I choose to avoid social media and be social elsewhere.