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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Social Media: The Bad

The pro's of Social Media have been weighed. Now it's time to consider the cons.

 Social Media's got its downside(s). Having access to information isn't necessarily a good thing. When is it 'enough'? What defines 'enough'? Critics would say that with social media, the concept of privacy is being lost more and more. The virtual world is a tiny village of which we all happen to inhabit. Google your name and it's likely that you'll find a daft statement you made on Twitter, 6 months ago that you don't even recall typing up. (Unless you've got protected tweets) The wrong people could see these things and jump to a conclusion. Impersonators don't need to work hard anymore. The task is made easy for them by tweeters who were callous enough to tweet their complete names. If you go through my favorites, you'll notice I Favorited some of those tweets. No, not 'cos I'm an identity thief  but 'cos I want to use it to tease 'Precious' when next he messes with me. But then, I might just be the exception. Some weirdo might have saved it and plans to use it to perpetuate his ulterior motive.

Public figures also find themselves under intense scrutiny as a result of the prevalence of Social Media. It's not rare to see Sportsmen targeted by fans after their latest loss. Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson's stay on Twitter was limited to 2 hours after he was victim of numerous abusive tweets. A striker with the England female national team, Eni Aluko has also been in the news after describing her discomfort with attacks against her on Twitter after missing a couple of chances in the World Cup match against Mexico,  describing them as 'poisonous'. It is said that anonymity engenders polarization and hate. It's also not a rarity to see celebrities taking on each other. Chris Brown being particularly guilty of this after public disagreements with Odd Future, Raz B and Joe Budden. Piers Morgan has also been guilty of attacking Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy describing their  transfer predicaments with Arsenal as being a result of 'disgusting mercenary greed'. Whatever that means. Everyone has access to these platforms and it's the most apt explanation of why such Irrationality and Inconsideration are rampant.

Abusive Tweets sent to Darron Gibson

Social Media is also viewed suspiciously by Lawyers who see it as an avenue through which people could spread their misinformed views which could possibly result in defamation and libel. Take for instance, the case of Ryan Giggs and his super injunction. It's argued that Social media gave people the platform to violate the law. A case against Twitter is currently pending in the courts with Twitter warning that it would inform users if it should become necessary that their information be passed unto the relevant authorities.

Social Media can also be seen as key in the rise of unverified news stories. Many a time, it has happened that something that's a figment of someone's imagination is let out and it starts to be taken as the truth. Kanye West  never fails to make mention of the fact that post Taylor Swift, news made rounds that he had reached his death in a car accident. Nelson Mandela, Bruce Willis, Mick Jagger, Margaret Thatcher and Bill Cosby are examples of prominent figures who have also been victims of death hoaxes.

Social Media can also be described as a major source of distraction. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been inundated with essays to be submitted early the following morning and then makes a quick detour to his Twitter homepage with the plan of spending 5 minutes scouring for gems of knowledge and ends up spending 90 minutes going in on the overly recycled #dearfuturewife trending topic. Next morning, a half baked essay is submitted. Social Media's killing us slowly. We don't hold conversations anymore,  preferring to tweet every thing that comes to mind. And when at meals with people we're TwitPicing the food to arouse envy. At what point would the right balance be found?

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