I think social media is great 😉 Family and friends get to use their words, pictures and interesting videos to connect in ways that bring them closer with warm smiles and heartfelt joys or sorrows…That’s the best use of these platforms.
Then there are the other uses….The uses that show how dark humanity can potentially be. This darkness should not be denied by users of social media platforms. Why? Because it actually “sheds light” on the unrelenting truths of our human nature which some could see as evil and others deem not so.
When a company runs and manages a social media platform there is quite a bit to consider. These platforms offer a multitude of ways for freedom of expression, and usually impose best practices of use which is typical of any community setting…These are rules like I described in my previous blog post, ”Political Constructs”. But, what are the boundaries of such rules? Where does free speech come in? When a line is crossed somewhere between free speech and best practices, who decides the limitations?
Content is continuously monitored on these platforms. We know that there are already laws in place that cover harassment, liable, nudity, incitement to violence, etc. Content rules typically show users’ rights and responsibilities, and what the platform will or will not allow as well as any legal infringements, not to mention user privacy.
The written word does not fuel incitement by its nature. The saying; “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!” is true, but only if you hear the “names” by discerning the fact that only you can take them personally, or not. A word on a page is simply a word no matter the intent given with its use…Intent is subjective, so the use of words on a page can elicit varying reactions from differing perspectives. The writer gives a message and the reader can process the message by responding or ignoring it given the context of the message. The choice is clear, and most times it is best to ignore a message if it has dark intent PERIOD. Dark intent will draw you in and impose its judgement without even knowing who you actually are…There is no consideration to humanity, therefor you alone hold the power over its message.
Visual messages are more influential with their subjectivity and intent. Does this influence make them easier to remove if the community rules on a platform are infringed? “A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English language adage. A still or moving picture can convey many different ideas and emotions…add a verbal message and the idea/emotions become more clear, yet the viewer still has the responsibility to process the message with discernment.
Unless content is clearly illegal or criminal, content should remain unedited on media platforms. The following are common sense ways to interpret material shared online:
- Do not take the message personally.
- Make sure the message is in its complete context. Do more research on its topic to help with accuracy.
- Only share a message if you believe that friends and family can appreciate the message fully and accurately.
- Take an inventory of the thoughts and emotions that a message represents for you and discern your relationship to these thoughts and emotions.
- Does the creator of the message have a clear point to be made or does he/she require a response for more clarity?
- If the message being shared is generated from a second party, question their motivation for sharing the content…Fully understand your motivation for sharing further this content to family and friends.
We need to keep as much freedom as possible on social media platforms and not allow them to “deplatform” users, employ “fact checkers”, or “shadow ban” the user. Without freedom we have no choices! Tyranny comes in many forms 😦