You ever wake up in the middle of the night because of a news story notification on your phone? Turn to YouTube or Twitter in a moment of insomnia or impatience? Wake up and go to sleep while holding your phone? Constant information definitely has its perks. There is nothing like solving an argument with a simple Google search, but what are the long term costs when the whole world rises and sets with the internet?
I had never thought long or hard about the effects of social media on my generation. Then, I got rid of 1 app, I stopped listening to the radio on my way to work, and I really started to detox. I wasn’t constantly inundated with headlines about Trump’s appointments, or his latest tweets, or how Syria is falling apart, or who of my Facebook friends was recently engaged. It was really refreshing and I believe it was necessary to reconnect with reality and my inner thoughts.
When you press pause for a moment the fog clears and you see the monster standing in front of you. Now here is the thing, there are many little monsters that exist on the inter-webs. It’s not because of the popularization of Twitter that Donald Trump has become a raging narcissist. Or simply because of social media that news isn’t truly news anymore. It’s also, not just because of the internet that Russia decided to hack our accounts as a form of an attack. Bullies have always existed, but since social media has become a thing, there is a new method of bullying. These threats all existed prior to the modern explosion of access to everything at all times. And what are the long term effects of constant access to all things?
A recent trend in the media, is the discussion of whether or not the media is out of control. We are faced with the dilemma that our news media has prioritized money and sponsorship over the truth. We have seen how the presidential election was tampered with by trendy satire blog sites (fake news) and viral posts that made false claims about the candidates. Cyber bullying has even become our new First Lady’s chosen issue to work on, but I can’t seem to shake off the fact that her husband, The President, is a cyber bully. I digress, but my point is that people all over the world can do all sorts of damage to people in all reaches of the planet and there are seemingly no consequences.
Over the course of the last 17-20 years we have watched social media develop into the monster that it is today. Also, over time the mainstream news media has gradually lowered their standards as well, catering to viewership instead of truth seeking. As we have made everything about our flesh seeking desires we have lost the purpose in the first place. While making everything more accessible and more palatable to the general public, we have diluted what the media is and have protected the rights of those who are supposed to keep us informed, while they destroyed our confidence in them. Freedom of press is now freedom to say any and everything without restraint.
I know that there is no way to completely protect us from cyber attacks, whether that is a literal hack, or hacking our thoughts and replacing them with false ones. But, our thoughts are our own, and who is accountable for our thoughts? We are. We don’t have to believe everything we see, and we don’t have to believe everything we hear. So much of what we see online could be debunked with a quick Google or Snopes search. If you don’t like what people have to say about you or to you, delete, block, unfollow, or deactivate your account and start a new one. You have power over what you allow to enter into your psyche. Don’t like it? Don’t keep reading it!
I don’t know if the media or social media is beyond control, but we aren’t. They want our attention, so we can direct them to what we want to see. Cyber attacks are another ball game and I’d love to see what you think we should do to curb cyber bullying and real cyber attacks that tamper with our security. Please leave your comments with your thoughts on what you think about these new trends in the media and social media, and please inject your opinions. I’d love to hear your thoughts!! Our voices matter!