An Unsociable Social Media
This week on Facebook: There is some comfort to be had at my being in my dotage, but I am not immune to the way in which the vagaries of life are presented on the internet and its social media, often disrupting my comfort zone. I am irritated by those campaigns described as Alt (alternative) something or other, or those that wish to expunge history and only allow a selectively biased view of it to be presented.
I remember a conversation that I had many years ago with a Nigerian student, the 1967 Biafran War had ended and my class had a student from each of the major Nigerian tribes. I asked the Biafran how he got involved in that war. He said that one day some men turned up at his house with guns and asked him which side he was on. “I’m on yours” he replied.
Social media thrives on sides being taken, so some of the questions that I ponder over are, “What do I do if I’m afraid of people turning up at my house with guns and asking me whose side I am on?” Of course in the UK it’s unlikely to be guns and the event itself is highly improbable, but what do I do when — as is already happening — the society I live in disallows the free expression of an opinion on social media? What do I do when what I write on the social media is censored for political and perhaps, more insidiously, social reasons?
I have great difficulty in determining the correlation between protestors, be they the meme generators or activists, when I read their social media causes célèbre. Yet the protestors are for the most part like me, they also paint their own graffiti on social media’s global wall whilst leading an air conditioned life and propagandising from their own comfort zones (metaphorically at least) Despite any irritations their propaganda may invoke, I am opposed to censorship and a supporter of ‘freedom of expression’.
However, I concede that an unfettered social network is a political and social nightmare that can create an unsociable social media. Nevertheless, the counterpoint of increasing control over social networks by the public administration — which is now happening — creates an even greater nightmare. I have long thought that notionally democratic governments have a wish to emulate the control exercised by the Chinese government over its social media, something that I wrote about in State Surveillance.
Monday — An Air Conditioned Life: Our comfort has been built at the expense of their discomfort. But my sympathy for them (with just an edge of anger on their behalf) is fundamentally self-indulgent, for I know that I will forgo nothing and do nothing for them.
Tuesday — The Poem of the Protests: Many others, however, quoted the words of a familiar poem—an idea coined by the Lutheran pastor and theologian, Martin Niemöller, in the years following World War II.
Wednesday — We are all angry on social media: Anxiety about social media currently clusters around what it does to traditional media, to the news it promulgates and privileges, and thence to its impact on democracy.
Thursday — Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online: I use socialism because technically it is the best word to indicate a range of technologies that rely for their power on social interactions.
Friday — Nobody Believes That You Hate Social Media: I find the implicit claim or objection to social media troublesome at best. Primarily the unspoken accusation levelled at those who participate fuels my abhorrence of the people who make these claims.
The Possible Social Needs And Potential Motivations Of The Voyeurs On Facebook (pdf): By simply typing in a person’s name, an abundance of related information may show up and be accessed, ranging from a trivial piece of personal detail such as a or quote, to highly personal pieces of information such as pictures, birth dates, education, and even daily habits.
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