A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Social Media, Good or Bad?

Recent events have brought the effect that 'social media' has upon our society in focus, perhaps it is a good thing that a sick individual has shown that it is possible to spread their sick views and actions world wide in seconds and is a wakeup call for society. The ease and speed with which information and opinions (accurate, inaccurate or plain hateful) can be disseminated is a relatively new phenomenon and largely unregulated, is that a good thing or something that needs to be more strictly controlled in a 'free' society?

If you search the phrase that titles this piece you will find numerous scholarly articles and opinion pieces covering this question and as a 'non user' of said platforms (unless you count blogger and email as such) I can hardly be counted as knowledgeable on its use. Does that make me and objective observer or an ignorant one, I will let you the reader decide!

Whilst the actions referenced above have perhaps brought this issue into focus it is far from the only similar atrocity, I suspect there is a much broader effect that modern communications are having upon our both our perceptions and our actions. Everything done or said by even the most obscure pundit or individual that is unusual, newsworthy, political or otherwise deemed worthy of being repeated is instantly spread via a few clicks on those insidious devices that most everyone now carries in their pocket.

“Social media has eliminated communication barriers and has paved the way for people to connect, collaborate and share their opinions and creations with anyone who is willing to listen. Social media is breaking down hierarchical, regional, age and cultural boundaries by providing a communication platform that spans across the globe and reaches us all. ..... Not being a part of “the movement” and specifically being targeted and/or excluded from such online networks has shown to be detrimental to a young adult’s mental and social wellbeing as it can lead to isolation and depression.” On the other hand given the main focus of my scribbling's over the last 10 years I cant help but wonder how much effect online media of all types have not only on our up and coming electorate but on the decisions all of us here in Canada will be making in a few months.

We are all addicted to the need for knowing what is going on around us (and I include myself here as although not on 'social media' I am no less addicted to google news and the like) as even some of those who administer said tool admit. 'Many studies have shown that the extensive use of social media can actually cause addiction to the users. Throughout their day, they feel to post something on their pages or check others posts as it has become an important part of our life. Facebook's former vice president for user growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, recently said "we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” and advised people to take a "hard break" from social media.'

As with is usual in sharing my thoughts with you my limited number of readers (as I said I'm NOT facebook and the like!) I have few answers but I do have many questions. I will leave you with this one....

Is the ease with which the actions of sick individuals who choose to demean, harass, attack and even kill other human beings can be spread on public forums being used by said people either as a guide and / or an encouragement to do the same? Is social media and the 'information age' part of the problem or part of the solution, should it be more closely 'regulated'?

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers


Owen Gray said...

It seems to me, Rural, that reading social media is a little like being able to read people. If you can't distinguish the good from the bad, you're in deep trouble.

Rural said...

I suspect that the pure volume (often of little value) is overwhelming for some folks Owen.