Has Social Media Ruined Our Ability to Have a Conversation?
Raise your hand if you are on no social media networks. I would guess that the majority of you are on at least one. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… there are a so many modern sites that are built to help us connect, decorate and cook. I, being the proud owner of a social media management company, ADIM Media, LLC, certainly champion the sites that are supposed to connect us all together. However, I do have some reservations. My main one? That the art of conversation seems to have gotten lost in the 140 character, photo driven, flippant comment based on one post world of social media.
So I ask, Has Social Media Ruined Our Ability to Have a Conversation?
Case in point.
On my Facebook page I asked a question. I knew the topic was hot, asking about whether or not readers would respond to a promotional campaign raising money for Planned Parenthood. I never said that I was doing the campaign and clearly stated that I was curious and that only comments that were kind, thoughtful and conversational were appreciated. I even said, ‘don’t be mean!’.
I fully expected some very strong opinions but I see my audience as mature, educated adults that have a true interest in women’s health and the debate on how to improve the system.
Despite my honest curiosity on the subject, some comments I received were flippant, mean spirited and meant to incite and online war of opinions. Call me naive, but I was taken aback. What was meant to be a thread to engage in conversation sparked angry retorts, accusatory language and spiteful snaps.
I even had someone unlike my page because ‘only certain opinions were getting responded to.’ As if I somehow, personally, have the power to make people respond to a comment.
As I read the hundreds of opinions, many respectful and honest, some not so much, I started to wonder how much damage we have done to the art of conversation by having social media in our lives.
I am not saying we need to leave 300 word responses to posts but can’t we talk among ourselves, healthily debating topics, just as we would in person?
I live my social media life with one basic principal: If I can’t say it to your face, I can’t say it.
Others, I think, though, think that because they are hidden behind a computer, they have the right to spout anything off what they want. I kind of see that as the same effectiveness of yelling at someone while driving.
They can’t hear you. It does not affect them. So why do it?
Obviously, people on social can read the comments. But, other than creating a feeling of anger, does it really affect them and their everyday lives? Probably not.
I wish social were just that…. social. That everyone could use it as if they were face to face with a person. That everyone would show the same amount of respect online as they do in a public setting. Maybe if we all did… decided to converse again instead of attacking and going for the social jugular, we could actually get some things accomplished.
What a novel concept.