Outside of movies, the other popular thing we talk about around here, is social media. Recently, one of the de facto hypotheses is to say social media is the town hall. Perhaps most specifically this is being attributed to Twitter since it’s the one platform making the most headlines. However I often wonder, is this really true?
When it comes to the things I write as a discussion or opinion, mine is usually unpopular. Nothing wrong with this because honestly I do a lot of thinking about these thought. This means, an opinion like this, I’m comfortable with even if it does feel lonely. One of these is this idea that social media is like the town square or marketplace of ideas.
I’ve been pushing back on this idea for a while and am wondering, is it?
Most of the accounts I follow on Instagram think the change at Twitter is going to be fabulous. If you didn’t know what’s going on, Elon Musk has an offer in for $44 billion to buy Twitter. The board seemed to take steps to stop the offer before news broke that it would be accepted. Now, Musk is putting the offer on pause while still being “committed” in the wake of reports that Twitter’s original reported finding of 5% bot accounts is inaccurate.
This offer has received much praise from free speech-ers. I do think free speech is good, in its place. I believe there has to be free speech, but I also do believe there has to be a more moral than not society for free speech to work. What I disagree with is the consensus that social media is the town square and “the” way to get ideas out there.IS SOCIAL MEDIA THE ACCEPTED TOWN HALL? #OPINION #UNPOPULAROPINION #THOUGHTS #SOCIALMEDIA #TWITTER #CONVERSATION #DISCUSSION Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing, yes, social media does have a wide reach. So in this way, it is a town square. On the negative end of that, a lot of accounts are run by someone whose purpose is to operate bot accounts. Obviously this skews opinion. That said, I don’t think it’s healthy or THE way we should encourage conversation or ideas. Things aren’t better since the arrival of social media. Don’t mistake me, I’m not saying culture was great pre any social platform.
But in these 20+ years later, can we honestly say, culture is better? I’d argue, it’s not.
Speaking with someone about the issues at the kitchen table doesn’t “affect” public opinion or sway anyone who is coming at an argument without common sense. This I understand. This is where social media does maybe have an advantage (its reach). However, what GOOD has social media really accomplished? People aren’t happier. There isn’t a good or honest place to seek Christian principles. Culture isn’t improving.
Life shouldn’t be about posting something and checking its reach only to be disappointed Instagram or Twitter limits your post because they want to be TikTok 2.0. It shouldn’t be about someone running 50 bot accounts to leave rage comments. I’m all for conversation and discussion. In fact, I love that. But if it’s not productive and is destructive, no matter your reach, what does this accomplish?
I’m going against the grain by focusing on my space here. This isn’t what people want, that I’ve learned. But I don’t want social media to be the only way. I don’t want that to be what I have to do to gain traction. If that means I have zero traction, then I still want to find things in the actual living of life. Not checking a post or seeing what the Christian influencers want us to believe or celebs are preaching at us about.
Right or wrong, I tend to reject this idea of social media being the town square. I think we need to talk face to face with people and converse with people. The reach may be significantly less, but I think the result is far superior.
What are your thoughts; do you use social media as a town hall? Where do you fall: do you like or dislike the platforms in general? Do you ever believe it deserves more rejection or are the platforms fine? Share all your thoughts! Let’s converse.
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