Many beliefs are more damaging than 'social media is bad'


17 Mar
17Mar

In my face-to-face and internet travels I hear lots of negativity directed towards social media these days.  In fact, some of it IS deserved.  But, to me that argument detracts from other, more urgent matters facing us.

Let me start the discussion by saying: The key in the middle of all of what I'm about to say is your relationship to social media. Obviously. Rather than fearing it and then trashing it.  And to some of the other important issues I am about to share.  So don't get lost in the argument, but look at your relationship to it.

It makes no sense to argue whether social media is good or bad, for example.  It's here to stay - in some form or other. The key is in how we utilize it.

So here are just a couple of other issues I think are much more important for us to be focusing on our relationship to:

Critical thinking - Part of the reason people think that 'social media is good or bad'  that all democrats or republicans are this or that or that something is caused by 'nature or nurture' is because their thinking skills are too concrete.  Most human adults haven't progressed beyond the concrete thinking level, a level you attain when you are about 12 years of age. Yes, imagine that!?! Nothing is good or bad, dark or light in this world. If I had one wish for today, it would be that human adults learn to think more in grays.  The world needs it, because these are minor issues, but when it comes to the more important issues facing us in this country and on the planet today - like climate change and income inequality - we are failing because we can't think - and talk - about these issues more rationally.

The problem with critical thinking is that it takes work!  More than most of us - in our increasingly sound-bite-sized, short attention spanned world - want to expend.  But is necessary to explore, especially if you do tend to be a concrete thinker.  For example, I did a post earlier today on Vanessa Otero, who has created a 'Media Bias Chart'.  I would encourage you to learn about the chart.  She wrote a related piece on 'not all negative reporting is biased'.  Check it out here.  Please note, this article made my eyes spin/swim.  Take your time and weed through it.  This is true critical thinking in great detail!  

And here's some good news: Once you start training your brain to 'be more critical', you will know it when you hear it.  Likewise, you will know when someone speaks who isn't using critical thinking.

Lastly, the critical I'm referring to is being more savvy in evaluation of information presented to you, not criticizing something just to try and stop it from being expressed.  There is a big difference.

Human Health - My argument regarding technology - which social media springs from - is more about it's overall impact on human health and relationships. One of the unfortunate negative side effects of tech (because again tech isn't all good or bad) is that it's created a pace of change in our world that is artificial in terms of how humans must interact with it.  What do I mean? People aren't machines.  Or so many if not most of us (I hope) believe.  We are flesh and blood. And the pace of life - often dictated by the demands of the technologies we're creating - is causing human illness, in terms of issues like emotional exhaustion, work burnout and more.  But that doesn't mean tech can't be used for good as well.  Now that's the relationship we want with technology!



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