I’m sure by now everyone has heard about how Roseanne Barr and Spike Lee have terrorized the family of George Zimmerman (and even some people completely unrelated to the case) by activating their social networks in an act of Twitter Vigilantism for their own personal brand of justice.
So, doesn’t that prove my point that citizens are really not responsible enough to be journalists?
Isn’t this the logical conclusion of empowering regular citizens to run content networks as large as the New York Times’ circulation? Um, and most of these citizens have never had a journalistic ethics class, nor do they have an editor to keep an eye on them.
The content of social media right now is so bloated with garbage and ignorance that rational people are fleeing the networks left and right, leaving behind a sort of content junkyard, where garbage is perpetuated by the likes of Roseanne Barr and Spike Lee.
Unfortunately that’s the problem with people. After too much close contact, we can’t stand each other anymore.
Humans are geared toward keeping a close family/friend network, and then holding everyone else at a comfortable (read: great) distance.
Remember how we used to live in cities, but we wanted to get away from our neighbors so we moved to suburbs? And then that started to be too much contact so we segregated into gated communities? In real life people can’t stand each other. That’s why Social Media is ultimately doomed to fail. The human condition just can’t stomach so much togetherness.
It seemed harmless enough; letting people rant and vent and expose their insanity in public was praised and welcomed from around 2007 to 2011. However, now it’s actually recognized as dangerous. (About time, folks.)
Sex predators are looking at your children’s pictures online. Vigilantes are being activated through social media. Identities are stolen every day.
What else needs to happen before we all wake up and step away from these networks?
Yes, there are still a lot of positive things happening because of social media. I’ve been amazed by the Kony 2012 campaign, and other humanitarian efforts taking place in social networks. But I wonder in the battle of “good versus evil” which will prevail in social media. Are they all destined for the fate of MySpace and SecondLife, where the entire networks were subsumed by pornographers and fringe interest groups?
I guess it all depends on who’s the loudest. And… if it’s about being loud, then we know who will win. I just wish the good, decent majority was a bit louder. It would be nice to take back social media. Who’s with me?
Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a web consulting firm in Baltimore. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.