Pitfalls of social media
Can our Democratic society adapt to the impact of social media? Social media has demonstrated how deep divisions are amongst the left and right; leaving centrists like me to wonder how we got here. The impact of social media is difficult to comprehend. Let me explain. As I write to my local paper, I hope several hundred people get to read it, if I’m lucky. My letter must first pass minimal muster at the local publisher and will take a few days to be printed.
If I put it on social media, it will reach many thousands of readers in an instant. It could reach one hundred million people in a few days. Sadly, the size of my audience may only be based on how “enticing” my letter is. Certainly, adding a picture of a cute puppy to my post will double my readership. But think about it. No one will vet what I write on social media for accuracy, correctness, value, ethics, diversity, honesty or bias until after everyone sees it.
If you are a politician, how careful are you with what you say and do in public nowadays? Are you measuring your words with an eye on social media? You better. The network TV report or newspaper article about your comments will be old news by the time it’s aired. This is why more and more politicians are hiding behind party lines. One off the cuff or misinterpreted statement can put in front of millions of eyes in less than a second. Politicians can use this as a tool (see POTUS) or they can choose to stay off the social media radar (see Congress). The bottom line is you could never believe everything you read in the past, and that is truer today than ever before.
— Bart Piccirillo Bethany