Twit­ter tweet­ing titi­vates, teases, tempts and trou­bles

Oman Daily Observer - - ANALYSIS -

’m just not sure any more, that com­mu­ni­ca­tion is all that it can, and should be, be­cause I’m slowly de­vel­op­ing a cyn­i­cism about whether much of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion we are in­volved in, is gen­uinely worth­while or ef­fec­tive.

That gi­ant of an­cient Greek phi­los­o­phy, the orig­i­na­tor of much that es­tab­lished ‘rules’ of so­ci­eties, was Plato, and he once said, “Wise men speak, be­cause they have some­thing to say, where fools speak, be­cause they have to say some­thing,” in­di­cat­ing very long ago that those who have less to say are prob­a­bly those most worth lis­ten­ing to. We should also be wary of those who talk too much I guess, as one of my old mates used to say, “We should be wary of those who are prof­li­gate with words, coz they’re prob­a­bly eco­nom­i­cal with the truth.”

And within those few lines, lies the ba­sis of my con­cern over the ef­fec­tive­ness of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, not only within the newer gen­er­a­tion, but across our so­ci­eties and our world. It’s not a new bold­ness or in­for­mal­ity that is pro­mot­ing, or al­low­ing the in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive, al­most ir­ra­tional be­hav­iour of our world’s lead­ers and lead­ing busi­ness­men, mak­ing anti-so­cial and gen­uinely un­civilised be­hav­iour ‘par for the course’ to­day. It is the first steps in the de­con­struc­tion of so­ci­ety, as was so adroitly es­tab­lished all those years ago.

The con­cepts of crime and pun­ish­ment, cul­tured, cul­tur­ally aware, hu­man rights based so­ci­eties took so long to es­tab­lish, and so many peo­ple, name­less, or­di­nary peo­ple per­ished in the names of rights, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and mankind, let alone the his­tor­i­cal fig­ures such as Lin­coln, Gandhi and Man­dela, to name just a few, but to­day I fear we are lack­ing role mod­els to as­pire to, to be proud of, and to re­spect.

The ab­so­lute and gen­uinely re­spectable ex­cep­tion, not only for his words, but his deeds, has of course been His Majesty Sul­tan Qa­boos.

You see, it doesn’t mat­ter how good, or how ef­fec­tive some­one is, the global me­dia aren’t in­ter­ested in good, they are only in­ter­ested in con­tro­ver­sial. Half of the world’s news head­lines to­day are about ‘fake news.’ Re­ally? No, that term was sim­ply an in­ven­tion de­signed to dis­tract and es­cape, there’s no such thing as fake news any more, but a grow­ing re­al­iza­tion and recog­ni­tion, that all of a sud­den fake news isn’t needed any­more be­cause the in­creas­ingly ir­ra­tional be­hav­iour and pro­nounce­ments of lead­ing busi­ness­men, politi­cians, and those we look to for lead­er­ship, is tip­ping us over the edge.

Me, I blame twit­ter. Well not just twit­ter, that’s a bit un­fair, but I firmly be­lieve that the rise, the some­what un­governed and heady rise of so­cial me­dia in such a short time has led peo­ple to feel that they are bul­let­proof. I mean, is it ac­cept­able to say some­thing unkind about some­one in so­cial me­dia, delete it a cou­ple of hours later, and take the view that it was “never said” there­fore. “I deleted it,” is hardly the same as “I never said it,” is it? And we all know that words are heard, but their tone, man­ner and in­tent hold the real mes­sage, and there is as much in the si­lences, as the words.

I dunno. Is it just me, or do you too yearn for the days when your world lead­ers and idols may not have been per­fect, but re­frained from ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity, even ir­ra­tional­ity? Thomas Jef­fer­son said, “When you’re an­gry, count to ten be­fore you speak, and if you’re very an­gry, count to a hun­dred.” I’m sure he is tut, tut­ting on high when he sees what the phe­nom­e­non has wrought in re­cent years. Hon­esty and in­tegrity are not sim­ply re­quire­ments of each of us, but our com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and our so­ci­eties, and with­out them, we live in a much more sav­age gar­den.

We all know that words are heard, but their tone, man­ner and in­tent hold the real mes­sage, and there is as much in the si­lences, as the words

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