Social Media has ruined us.
Built on a promise of reuniting us with long-lost friends and bringing us closer together, the business destroys society while making each of us pay with personal funds and health-destroying stress.
There once was excitement of connecting with high school sweethearts and football buddies.
We knew what was for dinner last night and laughed at the number of cats falling from high places and landing on their feet.
Remember when Facebook was full of birthday parties and family gatherings? We opened Instagram to see plates of food and cute puppies.
Smiles and happiness were as close as your phone and you looked forward to opening a timeline to fill you in on what your friends were up to.
Where did it all go?
Algorithms. Software programs designed to make money and exploit our weak and lazy minds.
We read and we believe or disbelieve what’s in front of us immediately based on our own level of understanding and education. There is no desire to research or fact-check and anyone with an agenda knows it.
Lies and truth are mixed just enough, and misinformation is hard to walk back.
You are now a Liberal Socialist Progressive thinker, or a Conservative Religious Fearmonger. You may feel you are more individualistic than a simple title, but to the world of advertisers or closed minded folks you are nothing more.
The title fits the narrative just fine, so it sticks. They don’t need to know anymore about you.
Once your social media platform of choice decides which category you fall under, the rest is easy. They slight all the information you get toward your way of thinking to keep you engaged with the platform. While it’s all about economics and making money for the advertisers, it does a great deal of harm to society.
Fun-loving social media is destroying pleasant society.
Social media platforms reinforce us to stereotype others by geography and to profile people by associations. Our world shrinks to make certain we only talk to people we agree with and only open our eyes and our minds to people who will validate our own way of thinking.
This is where the sadness is most clear. We can’t have discussions anymore, because my opinion doesn’t matter to you. You are not interested in what I think or how I feel, only what you think and why you are right and I am wrong.
Your only goal is to make me change my mind and you cannot understand why I don’t believe what you believe.
Humans treating each other with respect have diminished to name calling and finger pointing.
And social media, the great connector, is what is driving the wedges deeper between us.
The farther it pushes us apart, the more money they make off our fear and distrust of each other.
But I have hope.
I know there is a way to make the tomorrow better. From the mouth of a leader known for his focus on non-violence and peace, Mahatma Gandhi, comes sage advice.
His message is clear; “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
When I crafted the picture that accompanies this post, I was trying to show the frailty of an argument; I can’t assume to see the entire world when all I have to look at is a part no bigger than a single drop of water.
I need to look beyond the dirt and the grime that can cover me in daily news. Occasionally I need to wash off the grit that obscures my vision and let my eyes see a much cleaner view of what surrounds me.
Dewitt Jones, a well know photographer for National Geographic has promoted a great way to see each day with what he calls, “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” It’s a fantastic blog and a great way to stay reminded of the good things that make this world a great place to be.
I will celebrate more good; so I can better handle things when the bad creeps back in.
I will turn down the social media volume and focus on the social human interaction that always restores my faith in humanity.