Some would say it’s great that social media gives everyone a voice. Others would argue that it leaves everyone open to abuse.
There’s no doubting that trolling is an issue. And bad language is for the most part just that: bad language that only reflects badly on the writer.
No-one wants online censorship. On the other hand, there’s something of the Wild West culture about the Internet – and the predominance of social media only serves to exacerbate that.
We see social media at its worst in moral and political debate where there are plenty of half-baked ideas and opinions on display.
Yet who am I – or anyone else for that matter – to say what’s right or wrong? Doesn’t everyone have the right to disagree? And if we don’t like the cut of someone’s jib, why don’t we simply ignore them rather than becoming embroiled in an online slanging match?
Despite what the world beyond the Appalachians may think of Donald Trump, hasn’t this man given a certain legitimacy to using Twitter? He claims it’s his way around the dissemination of ‘fake news’. Roll up folks and read all about it: Trump-style.
Maybe it’s just me, but it looks suspiciously like there’s been an increase in the number of British politicians taking to Twitter. Like everyone else, they know you can poke your head above the parapet, fire a few salvoes, and then retreat to your trench.
Yes, it’s all a bit cowardly (like the online bullying that’s rife among school-age children). Of course, we can all choose to ignore social media but it’s become such an integral part of present-day culture that refusing to ‘engage’ with it runs the risk of missing out on the latest hot gossip.
Other elements of the contemporary lifestyle have a similar effect. Round-the-clock TV news is a good example. Without regular doses and updates of Westminster tittle-tattle, Trump tweets, world-wide terrorist outrages, celebrity deaths and indiscretions – what would we all talk about? The weather?
More to the point, we wouldn’t have as much ‘dirty bomb’ fodder to use in our social media posts. That’s not to say any of us is any the wiser for this total immersion in everyone else’s business. Nor does the so-called ‘social’ aspect make us any more sociable as we kick empty vessels down the echoing streets of our modern lives.
Mike Beeson is a highly experienced copywriter, journalist and PR consultant. For more information, visit: www.buzzwords.ltd.uk