The Problem of Social Media

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The Problem of Social Media

In a massively busy start to the year and a hectic Easter season there has been much to reflect on. People have been killed and injured in places of worship (including New Zealand and Sri Lanka), the Notre Dame Cathedral fire offers a metaphor for the place of the ‘good news’ in secular society, Rugby League players continue to allegedly behave badly, Israel Folau brings on his own sacking with a zealous tweet inspired by a piece of Scripture (with an unfolding story about Christian faith, freedom of speech or professional player contracts and the ethos and values of their employing body). This week a group of friends have posted final images before a fatal car accident and their own hospital snaps even though their friend was killed and another driver is also seriously injured in hospital. What happened to them surely makes a joke of the “it didn’t happen unless it’s on Facebook or Instagram!” AND in our own Federal Election we find one candidate after another from various parties falling over after strings of offensive or inappropriate material, not to mention the idiot in the Al Jazeera videos…

A common questionable, destructive or vitriolic thread has been the place of social media in all these happenings. It relates to what we would or wouldn’t know, whether a story is global in minutes and who or what moderates these spaces. In moments social media is a brilliant communication tool and then it’s simply destructive to community and shared living. Thought bubbles, private views, exposure of falsehoods and hypocrisy, sensitive information, uncovered truth, banal images, violence, and opinion masquerading as fact add to the anxiety and stress of a world in pain that’s rejected many paths to a better world and life. What next?