It has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here, and it definitely hasn’t been due to a lack of things to say. Those of you that follow me on social media know that I maintain daily bouts of trolling, amongst a slew of other posts. I like to shoot the shit, I like to argue, and I like to be tested. Just about anything to pass the time that might enlighten or entertain me draws me in. Lately, Facebook has been one of the most consistent sources of entertainment that the internet has to offer. Enlightenment, however, is becoming sparse there. I’ve noticed an increasingly hostile, and ultimately ridiculous environment on Facebook. It has become this completely asinine entity, and a parasitic organism sucking the life from its host; our timelines.
It’s quite funny the way that Facebook has become a breeding ground for trolls, hilarity, and ignorance. Within the last five or so years, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have taken over as the primary methods of social media for most people under thirty. One would assume that this would leave only our parents, grandparents, and teachers to fumblefuck their way through any pictures or statuses we post whenever we decide to dust off our once flourishing accounts.
In some ways, this has remained true. A good chunk of Facebook remains legitimate content and civil, thoughtful interaction. However it has become something much more; a true hub for people to shoot off at the mouth. A place where every kid that you ever thought mysteriously disappeared after middle school or high school can emerge from the muck, announce that they’re having a kid, tell you all of their politically charged opinions, or just incite endless chaos every single time that there is a hot button issue. These days, there is endless material for argument. America in particular is arguably more divided now than any time in recent memory, and the discrepancies are plentiful.
Something I believe to be essential in our current political and social climate is the right, and ultimately responsibility for each person to voice his or her opinion. For this, Facebook and other social media forums play a crucial role. To the same token, there are always going to be idiots, and there are always going to be bigots. You can’t censor stupid and unfortunately, social media is like gasoline to a match. Just as frightening is the fact that our president is currently waging a war on the media. This not only creates distrust and chaos between the citizens of our country and the media, it is a gross infringement on our rights. Where once we stood united, we are now being pinned against each other in a merciless virtual coliseum.
I think it’s a terrifying thing to demonize the media. Historically the media has blown things out of proportion, exaggerated, and caused increased tension around our aging two-party system. It is important to realize however, that the media has also done endless good. The media serves a critical role in what we know and understand as a society, as well as how we pick through the information to stay informed and think analytically. I think it is our duty as citizens to remain informed and as unbiased as possible. It’s also important to be able to sift through the things on our news feeds and recognize what is legitimate and credible news and what is not when fake news is running so rampant. Social media specifically can be a powerful tool for staying informed, gathering information, and forming an educated opinion. It’s also easy to fall victim to falsities, baiting, and ultimately shitty journalism.
The greatest advantages of Facebook ultimately double as its biggest drawbacks. Easy access to nearly information you want, including your news, as well as a 24/7 forum for sharing your thoughts and opinions can be a gift and downright curse. I think that the constant advancements of social media paired with the pitfalls of traditional news outlets has led to a delusion that everyone is a journalist. Let me be clear in saying that I don’t believe that everyone is a journalist. Journalists are careful and meticulous in their information and the way in which they present it to their audience. By no means are journalists bulletproof, because they’re called on their shit every day. However there is a clear difference between journalism and just pure bullshit. Often times, that is what you’re getting when the average person on Facebook decides to stir things up.
Facebook could be headed in a bothersome direction. It has become the hive for ignorance and hatred towards each other. Once again, it also does plenty of good in allowing people to connect, make change, and stay informed. As we’ve seen time and time again in history, when groups of people with a set of beliefs are all gathered together it can have great results, or extremely detrimental results. Hateful agendas and opposition grow rapidly when concentrated, and become hard to contain. Of course, you could always just remove yourself from social media and turn the other cheek. But to abandon our responsibility as citizens to fight for what is right only further allows these issues to continue.
Now more than ever we need to think carefully and critically about the things that we are posting. If any average hellion is spewing out their uninformed or ill researched opinions and ‘facts’ on a daily basis, there is unavoidable trouble brewing. Of course social media has always been geared towards light-hearted posts and interaction with friends, but it is easy to forget the true power that it holds. It’s an extremely powerful entity, and in the wrong hands it can certainly be dangerous.