The Big Idea - Social Media 2.853 billion people use Facebook, as of July 2021. That doesn’t seem theatrical enough! 2,853,000,000 people/36% of everyone on the planet!🌍 Ooooooooooooooooo….
Sometimes, saying less is a far more fruitful way of conveying something vital to know. Imagine if you could write a letter and send it to 36% of the world! You could say anything you wanted. You could pitch conspiracy theories until you’re blue in the face. You could tell the world that the world is flat, it’s doomed, or it’s made of cheese. Conversely, you could announce that the world is ailing from Global Warming, that 10% of humans don’t have enough food, or that we only have one world and one another. Messages of enmity and hope are just as easy to send when you’re connected to 36% of everyone. That is why social media is both a great hope and great danger.
“You, yes you. I don’t like you!”
Can you possibly imagine walking up to someone and declaring to their face, “You, yes you. I do not like you at all!”. It seems absurd. More absurd than a man with triangular eyes and a cubed head! Humans have careful, balanced communication protocols and traditions that we have perfected over millennia to avoid starting wars between tribes, cities, and countries. A king saying something like that to another would elicit certain war and savagery. Now, you can go online, give yourself a nickname, and say anything that comes to mind. Should we be worried? Social media can take the restraints off from the human brain because there isn’t a huge consequence of calling someone a ‘huge smelly slug’. In normal life, you’d have to be ready for an almighty argument and fight. Technology has rewritten the way in which we communicate.
Rise up, down with the tyrants!
It’s not all bullying and taunts, of course, for social media can shine like a beacon when trouble is afoot. A society of smartphone users can communicate with millions of people around them to protest against a government, as citizens did in Hong Kong, and meet to fight a perceived injustice. However, they can also organise bands of militia to storm the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The real challenge is knowing when it is wrong, unjust, and hazardous and when it is noble, worthwhile, and needed. How can that decision be made? Who should make it?
A perspective on Social Media is that it gives people a voice they’d never have otherwise to convey their thoughts and connect with like-minded people. You can watch a video on Napoleon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aq_gRfmjgY - and have a huge, messy discussion in the comments or trawl through millions of pomeranian pictures on instagram. There are countless groups for people to connect with digitally that they would never find in a normal, physical world. Social media can enrich a dull life. On the other hand, there are probably groups on marrying squirrels, making houses made of cake, and the benefits of never washing your hands. Be careful!