Gossip,rumour and hyperbole…just another day in Social Media
Forgive me for the lack of subtlety in the title for this week’s piece but at some point we need to acknowledge the 800 lb gorilla in the room.
I love Social Media , I love the way it allows us to expand our network of learning and assists our ability to refine ideas. Whilst watching an historical drama yesterday I realised the paradigm shift we have witnessed in our communications. The story told of the death of Edward the 4th and the ensuing skulduggery which took place as jealous and mischievous courtiers tried to plot the next chapter in English regal history. It surely was a brutal time to be alive, when a rumour could easily mean you parted company with your head as soon as you could be found. The interesting part I noticed was the time it took for messages to be delivered and for actions to be put into practice.Sending word to France to alert the possible future King in exile to return immediately took weeks to complete.
Fast forward to our time and we would have posted pictures and video of the dying King on YouTube, sent out ‘tweets’ to extol his virtue and our sadness at his passing, interviewed people about what would happen next etc etc…. all within minutes!
Being able to react to situations quickly is a great advantage but also a problem at the same time. There is one thing which time gives us and that is perspective. Perspective is not a highly valued asset these days, we tend to favour emotional responses and visceral reactions rather than considered processes.
When we look at our respective Social Media activities we will all see a large percentage of postings which , at the best, stretch the truth . If one were to read everything we receive we might be forgiven for thinking that everyone else is doing better than we are , yet we know this is just not the case. The vast majority of people using Social Media are not necessarily successful but nonetheless have something of value to offer. Whilst we have to wade through a great deal of bilge we also find nuggets of information and innovative ideas which help us move forward.
The issue we face is the one of discernment, how we sort the wheat from the chaff. There are many false statements, many lies and exaggerations, rumours without legs to stand on and plain misdirection but ultimately we must learn to recognise the genuine stuff from the dross.
Whilst we constantly attend to our smartphones checking our ‘feed’ we can slowly become desensitised to the barrage of ‘written noise’ before our eyes. For Social Media to truly become an integral part of the way we do business and communicate with friends we must attend to the elements using ill considered and damaging information and conjecture designed to get them heard rather than respected….there is a difference.
We have half a million words in the English language let’s use them…… LOL!
see you on the long and winding road…………. Patrick