Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Recent Thoughts on Social Media

I admit it - I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Facebook and Instagram to "celebrate" and share life's events with friends and family.  Twitter as a professional tool with colleagues and my network of educators that I have met or with whom I learn.

Lately I feel more and more that social media is just out of control.  I support the first amendment and free speech - I truly do.  But social media has opened up an avenue where we are not being sensitive to others; we are not understanding how a post can be interpreted.  Some are using social media to celebrate murders, deaths, or even plan illegal acts.  It's crazy.

I think this recent election season is showing us two things: social media can be used as a powerful tool to engage people to think and get out there and vote; it has also been used in such ugly ways.  "Crooked Hillary" comments, blatant racism towards President Obama, sexism towards Hillary - even many negative things towards Trump.  When did we lose our class as Americans?

Out of respect to the tradition of election season and the democratic process, I watched last night's opening to the Republican National Convention.  And I was saddened - saddened that we are so divided as a country and instead of working together collectively for solutions, many are pointing the fingers, making excuses, and spewing hate.  I grew up a "Reagan Republican."  I later changed to the Democratic party, and after last night, I am sure glad I did. The current GOP is spewing hate and pointing fingers.  I have not heard any of the speakers, the presumptive Republican nominee, or the Vice President nominee present a plan for fixing our challenges.  They want to hold NATO and others accountable - bring American jobs back, etc -- but HOW?  I pray that next week's Democratic National Convention demonstrates respect to the process and all involved, whether we agree with their points of view or not.

Given the violence that has erupted lately - police officers being killed, suicide bombings, potential coup in Turkey, I am wondering what our future as a world holds.  Are we simply going to self destruct because we haven't learned from the past?  If so, I am sure it will be on social media.  I cannot give up my hope that one day, we will not judge each other based on race or religion.  One day we will look at and treat each other equally.... one day.  Maybe we can start by being more kind to one another via social media.  Maybe we can be sensitive with our words and actions..... Maybe.

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