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(Twelve-minute read) 

Of course, it is being blamed for eroding trust, but trust isn’t something that can be immediately forged; it must be built over time.

Social Media, on one hand, has tremendous power for good but it also causes a breakdown of trust casting a negative net far and wide. 

The real power of Social Media is its decentralized nature.

Random stories, true or not, posted on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, can achieve sudden popularity and notoriety by touching the minds and hearts, not just millions, but tens and hundreds of millions of people.

So is Social Media the perfect mechanism for spreading emotionally powerful messages designed to generate an epidemic of fear even when the content is totally and obviously false, who cares?

This is why dictatorships cannot tolerate Social Media. Autocratic governments can’t control the content or who receives it.

There is no easy fix.

The issues involved are complex.

In little more than a decade, the impact of social media has gone from being an entertaining extra to a fully integrated part of nearly every aspect of daily life for many.

Yet one thing is certain, developing trust is contingent upon authentic communication and algorithmic mechanical content has no authenticity.

They are destroying our ability to create and consume valuable content.

What qualifies as “valuable content” is, of course, subjective.

For a piece of content to qualify as valuable, it must be relevant.

Valuable content isn’t static. 

Content that isn’t useful isn’t valuable.

Doesn’t that sound like Social Media should support and enhance the idea of democracy, that more people will be exposed to more diverse news and therefore more intelligent overall?

Certainly, that is the idealistic view.

There is no centralized control to Social media so there are endless ways that your data is being mined on a regular basis to feed Artifical Intelligence algorithms that are conditioning consumers with algorithm content.

But does that actually happen?

The reading audience determines what’s considered valuable content.

Better education should lead to better opportunities for all people.

If the audience wants short-form content, platforms believe it’s their duty to give it to them.

  • Tweets are limited to 280 characters maximum.
  • Instagram Stories currently max out at 15 seconds, video posts at 60 seconds.
  • Snapchat Stories are capped at 60 seconds.

My question is why are these platforms not smacking the viewer over the head with hard-hitting messages that clearly states what the content is and where it comes from.

IE it has been posted by an unidentifiable source or individual it might encourage him or her to dig deeper.

Of course, you can use social media to give quick-hitting answers to burning questions while linking to long-form content.

Google’s algorithms work under the assumption that blog posts worth reading must contain at least 2,000 words.

Longform content tends to spread the message out, allowing the reader to become more and more emotionally invested over time.

In this environment, it’s no secret that short-form content is increasingly prevalent and popular.

how can we feel we have “independent thinking”?

Have we been herded into a collective bounded and defined by fear?

How is this a society that functions as a true democracy?

In fact, bad actors have an advantage because they are not constrained by legal, ethical or moral considerations. They can direct their money, knowledge, and power toward totally selfish goals.

From the perspective of a bad actor, Social Media, as a decentralized, “free” messaging channel, is actually the most powerful and cost-effective tool for manipulation they have ever had.

What do we do to change the direction of decline? 

How can we have rational discourse about our differences, to learn mutual respect?

How can we support more positive, life-affirming messaging? Regardless of the stories we tell, how can we commit to the narrative of Social Media as a means of increasing the state of well-being of society?

Each of us has a voice. Use it wisely!

The way that prominent social media platform companies, particularly Facebook, are currently operating and are financed is inherently undemocratic.

Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day, that’s 6 new profiles every second!

No other platform enables target groups to be so directly contacted and motivated towards interaction.

There are some 680 million Twitter users. 

The question is, are we at a point where the social media organizations and their activities should be regulated for the benefit of all.

Digital technologies have become pervasive.

Of course, many have begun to believe that the biggest challenge around the impact of social media may be the way it is changing society. The “attention-grabbing algorithms underlying social media… propel authoritarian practices that aim to sow confusion, ignorance, prejudice, and chaos, thereby facilitating manipulation and undermining accountability.

Facebook and Twitter and they’re like maybe gone in 10 years, but there will be something else.

Do we want to try to put the genie back in the bottle? Can we? Does social media definitely have a future?

Social connections are fabrics of society. 

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.