The Impact of Social Media
Updated: Jul 20
Social media (SM) has improved many aspects of our lives. It’s affected the way we communicate, coordinate, organize and the way we do business. Using social media is a must in the current era; content is king and successful businesses know that good social media marketing is paramount to cornering a market or generating leads.
But what happens when the message is no longer positive? How are the everyday layperson expected to able to reasonably discern the authentic from covert manipulation?
‘It’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled’ – Mark Twain
The impact of social media is an esoteric subject, but one where every voice counts. We are all affected by it. SM has since removed the age barrier between generations, peer groups and the structure of corporate hierarchy. Our institutions and the authorities once provided a buffer that filtered screened information into the public domain and presented it with some form of context. In our current age, SM has eliminated borders, it has no restrictions, and it's available 24/7. The lack of controls also means it's widely open to abuse, including from our enemies. e.g., The Taliban are spinning social media to their advantage, despite sites' bans
[Left: example of a Bot Farm]
Bots can be indistinguishable from legitimate users. These automated programs can be used to scrape users’ personal information without consent, fabricate influence campaigns, covertly push agendas, spread disinformation, and make scams more convincing.
Do younger generations know how to identify a modern day Trojan Horse? Can they discern authentic information from a marketing piece carefully designed to invoke an emotional response?
Traditionally when faced with societal problems we turned to the great minds of the university professors. But what happens when even they are no longer free from bias? I don’t have the answers; the purpose of writing was to encourage thought, create dialogue and bring attention to a new phenomenon that is social media.
When used correctly SM can be used to network, share ideas, inspire creativity or alert us that our friends/family are safe after an incident. We can make new friends, spread a message and communicate with strangers on the other side of the world that share similar interests. It can remind us that we’re not alone no matter how niche our interests may be.
We are all future potential. Our past doesn’t necessarily define us and we often lose interest in things that once captivated us. Sometimes we become interested in other things, grow into adulthood armed with new information and move on from who we once were. People or colleagues we once met that wouldn’t (usually) have remained in contact with are now with us until the end, or for as long as that particular platform is still relevant. Social media has gradually evolved from a public messaging board into a perceived projection of who we may be now.
Our new found reluctance to boredom is distracting people from their environment and diminishing personal responsibility.
After hurricane Dorian (2019), residents in Louisiana were left without power and basic living essentials. It took several weeks before sufficient aid was able to reach the cities. Fortunately, some were able to rely on the cultural skills they’d developed from living in a rural environment such as hunting, finding natural water sources and building improvised shelter.
Our ancestors have had to overcome; resource scarcity, invading empires, plagues, highwaymen, savage wildlife, extreme climate changes, wildfires and floods. They did this since the dawn of human evolution using primal instinct and minimum resources.
How would a city like Los Angeles cope during a long-term power outage?