Before there was social media there was social. People were here first and people are social and social can happen anywhere. Media is just the assignment of the platform or the place. That is why we should have no worries about social media.
I do not for a nanosecond condone any of the bad and horrific behaviors that occur on social media. I do not appreciate any of the dysfunctionalism that is so often displayed. However, I recognize that social media just happens to be our latest technology-enabled water cooler or town square. Therefore, we will use it . . . because we are social and social was here first.
Social media is not to be condemned prima facie. As with so many objects in our world, it is not the object itself that is intrinsically good or evil. It is what we choose to do with the object that creates good or evil. I guarantee you that any good or evil we find on social media today was equally present at the water cooler or the town square in the past. We retain the same freedom today to use social media for good or for evil. I trust that we are using it for good and I believe that is the direction in which we must ever push. The good news is that social media is being used in countless ways for good.
Social media is relatively new to human society. But being human is not new. It is who we are. Let’s keep that in proper perspective. Along these lines, I appreciate Gary Vaynerchuk’s (Vaynermedia CEO) perspective:
“we get scared of everything that we didn’t grow up with; it’s what human beings do. Every new medium brings along a healthy fear that the newest invention will ruin society. But, the truth is that people will always be looking for new ways to be entertained, consume media, and engage with each other. . . .
There is always going to be something in every generation that is going to ‘bring us down as a society.’ Either you are a pessimist or optimist on this issue. I am an optimist.”
Let’s be sure that we are looking beyond the medium to the real message. And because I am an optimist, I will continue to do that.