On the use of the so­cial me­dia

The Freeman - - OPINION -

We can­not doubt the many ben­e­fits we can de­rive from the use of so­cial me­dia. It fa­cil­i­tates com­mu­ni­ca­tion, a ne­ces­sity for all of us. We just have to know how to use it prop­erly, for def­i­nitely the pos­si­bil­ity also is high to use it im­prop­erly.

I have al­ways be­lieved the new tech­nolo­gies now are ac­tu­ally pos­ing new chal­lenges to us, not only in the area of know­ing their tech­ni­cal mech­a­nisms and how to take ad­van­tage of them, but also and more im­por­tantly in the area of how to use it prop­erly.

The finer points of the spir­i­tual and mo­ral re­quire­ments of their use have to be con­sid­ered most es­pe­cially. This is the greater and more im­por­tant chal­lenge and I am afraid that this as­pect of the chal­lenge is largely ig­nored. We can­not deny that new tech­nolo­gies have great po­ten­tial to make us a bet­ter per­son. But they can also cause se­ri­ous, in­de­scrib­able harm. Let's not be naïve.

At the mo­ment, a cur­sory look at the post­ings on Face­book, for ex­am­ple, sim­ply shows all forms of self-in­dul­gence and bla­tant flaunt­ings of van­ity, flat­ter­ies, self-glo­ri­fi­ca­tion, gos­sip­ing, etc. If not th­ese, then a lot of bash­ing, fault-find­ing, and the like also abound. To a cer­tain ex­tent, so­cial me­dia can be used for com­mer­cial pur­poses, but this needs to be reg­u­lated. Co­er­cive chain-let­ters should be stopped.

Even the ex­pres­sion of opin­ions is done al­most with­out char­ity. Very of­ten, un­nec­es­sary feuds and dis­putes erupt over unim­por­tant mat­ters. It would seem th­ese things are be­com­ing the new nor­mal. We have to be care­ful about this trend. This can only lead us to greater trou­ble.

We need to re­mind ev­ery­one to prac­tice re­straint and mod­er­a­tion in us­ing so­cial me­dia. Ev­ery­one should have a clear idea of the pri­or­i­ties of his du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and give the ap­pro­pri­ate time and ef­fort there. Def­i­nitely, for most of us so­cial me­dia should not get much of our time and at­ten­tion. For sure, there are many other more im­por­tant things to do.

Be­sides, ev­ery­one should have a clear vi­sion of what to do there. We just can­not go to so­cial me­dia to sat­isfy our cu­rios­ity. That would be tan­ta­mount to idle­ness and wast­ing time. Of course, it would be good to have a clear idea of how much time to al­lot on so­cial me­dia. We should not be there all the time.

In this re­gard, it would be ad­vis­able that our in­ter­ven­tions there are al­ways pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive. We should pro­claim the “Good News” more than merely opin­able mat­ters. In­spir­ing and ed­i­fy­ing sto­ries and tes­ti­monies should dom­i­nate rather than sto­ries that sow in­trigues and in­vite dis­putes.

In other words, ev­ery­one should have pu­rity of in­ten­tions and should prac­tice ex­treme del­i­cacy in ex­press­ing views and opin­ions. Given the of­ten hasty treat­ment we give to so­cial me­dia, we should be more mind­ful of our ten­dency to be reck­less in our in­ter­ven­tions, lead­ing to mis­un­der­stand­ings.

We should be quick to ask for for­give­ness for of­fenses as well as to for­give ev­ery­one who may have also of­fended us. We have to learn to re­spect each other's opin­ions, even if we do not agree with them.

We should see to it that so­cial me­dia truly con­trib­utes to the com­mon good. We have to have some clear cri­te­ria and stan­dards to guide us in as­sess­ing the true value of this pow­er­ful means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Let's hope that those in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion busi­ness can come up with some per­ti­nent code of ethics. There def­i­nitely is a need for con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion and for­ma­tion in this area.

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