( A seven to ten minute read)
I know that there are already many opinions out there about the effects of social media, but they all seem to miss the most important fact when addressing the subject.
Social media or as I like to call it Living Algorithms Intelligence feeds on beliefs not truths, till these beliefs become collectively believable, turning Social Media into a new form of religion.
You might think that this is a heresy, but the definition of religion in regarding its association with science is on the whole misunderstood.
Just how does science/ technology relate to religion? They don’t know each other and never will.
However most religions argue that you simply cannot understand the world without them.
This is no longer true.
Social media is now woven into the texture of the relationships in people’s everyday lives.
Social media being used to actually reinforce traditional groups, such as family, castes, and tribes, and to repair the ruptures created by migration and mobility.
Religion is defined by its social function and is anything that confers superhuman legitimacy on human social structures. Religion asserts that humans are subject to a system of moral laws that we did not invent and that we cannot change.
Through filters Social media is becoming a toxic mirror of religion.
Social media favors the bitty over the meaty, the cutting over the considered.
It is not just us but our religious and political discourse is shrinking to fit our smartphone screens. Time and again we are informed that the Internet is transforming human life towards a more enlightened and creative existence.
The public is constantly told that Big Data and the Internet of Things are about to revolutionize human existence. Claims that digital technology will fundamentally transform education, the way we work, play and interact with one another suggest that these new media will have an even greater impact on our culture than the invention of writing, reading and religion.
Just a few years ago, social media was a fairly obscure concept. Now Social media is a broad category that includes social networking sites, blogs, online review sites and photo- and video-sharing sites. It also includes sites where users can “check in” at their location, such as a restaurant or movie theater, and share their experiences and opinions.
Social media includes both sites run by the company, such as its own blog or website, and third-party sites where users can “friend” or “follow” each other.
Predictably the Internet is also an object of glorification by its technophile advocates.
The culture of everyday life has become entwined with the Internet. There is little doubt that the digital technology and social media has already a significant impact on culture.
(Take the example of radicalized jihadist youth in the West. In many cases the Internet has been represented as a powerful technology that incites young Muslims to become radicalized. Often the term“sudden radicalization” is used to highlight the power of social media to swiftly convert otherwise confused young Muslims into hardened extremist jihadists.
The social media provides a medium through which pre-existing sentiments can gain greater clarity, expressions and meaning. It provides a medium for the kind of interaction that can throw up new ideas, new symbols, new rituals and new identities. In this sense it has helped stimulate the emergent Western jihadist youth sub-culture and arguably its online expressions have exercised an important influence on its offline trajectory.)
Through the Internet the segmentation of social experience is refracted and given greater momentum through its powerful technological dynamic. This amplification and intensification of social trends constitutes the immediate impact of the Internet on the everyday culture. If the experience of printing serves as a precedent, it is likely that digital technology will not simply intensify prevailing cultural trends but also provide resources for reinterpreting its meaning.
Authority and respect don’t accumulate on social media; they have to be earned anew at each moment.
However today, with the public looking to smartphones for news and entertainment, we seem to be at the start of the third big technological makeover of modern life both politically/ electioneering and religious beliefs.
The Internet and the social media are powerful instruments for mobilization of people is not in doubt.
However, it is not its own technological imperative that allows the social media to play a prominent role in social protest. Rather the creative use of the social media is a response to aspirations and needs that pre-exist or at least exist independently of it.
This technology ought to be perceived as a resource that can be utilized by social and political movements looking for a communication infrastructure to promote their cause.
Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace allow you to find and connect with just about anyone making it difficult for us to distinguish between the meaningful relationships we foster in the real world, and the numerous casual relationships formed through social media.
All this provides an illusion of control: The line between a “like” and feeling ranked becomes blurred.
It’s not about don’t spend time on Facebook, but just be aware of what it might be doing to you. Perhaps future generations will recoil with similar horror at the messiness, unpredictability and immediate personal involvement of a three-dimensional, real-time interaction.
We have all witness the election of Donald Trump with a vast web audience—four million followers on Twitter alone is the first candidate and now president optimized for the Google News algorithm.
Even though the ease of social media communication brings major benefits to previously excluded populations, this may not have any overall impact on social differences, or oppression offline.
Poverty restricts the amount of time people can spend on the internet. People avoid political and religious postings. Social media serve local purposes, instead of breaking down international boundaries.
Populations in different parts of the world may use local or regional platforms and their own online “dialects” which keeps people separated and distinct, not united. For some people living away from their family, it can become the main place they live, where they spend most of their time.
Once you send out a message like this one via social media, you can’t take it back even if you delete it. In addition, anything you post is considered public information, and you could see it quoted in the media.
Yet, social media certainly adds crucial new elements: Technology, along with globalization and economic trends, has made “power easier to get, but harder to use or keep” and that brings us to the present dilemma. We now know how to disrupt, but we still have no clear formula for bridging the gap from disruption to legitimacy. Memes have become our moral police.
Power is no longer absolute, but must be grounded in shared principles. If the social contract is breached, there will be a heavy price to pay and social media will play a major part in exacting that price.
All comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the Bin.