Behavior, Voice, and Social Media

The topic of this blog is one that has been on my mind for sometime, but I have struggled with exactly how I want to articulate and fully develop the idea. I’m providing at least a sketch of what is on my mind when thinking about behavior, voice, and social media in this post.

Social media is a revolutionarly force. Everyone is a publisher now. People are writing more than they ever have. People are also reading more than they ever have. (The question of how productive the specific type of writing and reading people do is a separate question.)

At the same time, people truly don’t know how to a voice, and they don’t know how to behave civilly with that voice: I see people using social media to spread absolutely hateful and totally inaccurate statements all the time. I have recieved hundreds and hundreds of hate-filled messages over the years. Messages with words most people (at least until the validation of Trumpism) would never say face-to-face. 

Social media is problematic in that it constantly asks people to have uneducated, uninformed “opinions.” Every news article. Every tweet. Every status update. Basically every thing on the Internet has a way to leave comments. Sometimes news organizations specifically ask people to leave comments or to voice their opinions.

People have forgotten that opinions CAN be wrong. Dead wrong. Opinions are good for things like liking or not liking the food at a given place, for example. People en masse confuse opinions, facts, and falsehoods.

Social media validates ignorance. Social media validates hate.

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda