Social media is a wonderful platform and has been used to give us insights and keep up with friends, family, celebrities, politicians, and the like. It has made the world smaller, and news is not up the minute, but up to the second. But, like my wife says, “It’s Pandora’s Box.” With all the good social media has done and provided to us, the same can be said about the negative influences it has had.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -First Amendment to the United States Constitution
When it comes to social media, free speech has given any and every one a voice. A voice, which may have been localized, now becomes global with the click of a button, and not everyone is using their voice in a positive manner.
I mentioned on Facebook during the last Presidential election how the rhetoric towards President Obama was not the norm. We all know politics deal in dirty fighting, but what was coming the President’s way was more like pure venom than dirty politics.
Then, there was Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Ferguson. People on social media began to take sides with very strong opinions, which caused the true colors of many to come out. Just looking over my timelines on my social media accounts, I was surprised to see the comments of friends,black and white alike, in regards to racial issues. Not as much on my part, but I do know there has been a lot of de-friending and un-following taking part after news concerning anything black and white hit the airwaves.
But it’s not just that.
Below is a screenshot of a game I play on my Note 4, SimCity Build It. Some of you may be familiar with the game, but if not, basically it’s a mobile version of SimCity where you are Mayor, and you build a town from the ground up. On the mobile version you can access goods from other players, or “cities” via trade. The screen shot below is a city I came across while looking for a product. Take a look at the name of the city.
Twitter went crazy over the halftime show and the last play of the Super Bowl this year, but not all of it was positive. Check out these Tweets. NSFW.
I don’t believe people changed their views on race because of social media, but social media, in my eyes, has given more movement and power to the racial tension within our country. I see the loudest voices come from the disenfranchised that’s is one straw away from breaking the proverbial camels back, and those that want the country to be like is was or believe the disenfranchised should “get over it”. Unfortunately there isn’t a large enough neutral voice that holds the tensions between the two extreme ends apart.
And honestly, I don’t believe anyone will win if the tension explodes.
Do you feel the same as I do? What would your suggestions be to ease the racial tension? I would love to have your feedback.