Sunday, 5 April 2009

Social Media is Written in Stone

I feel this blog is becoming home to my rants on technology and its effect. It's sheltering write-ups that shed light on the ever expanding realm, that is social media and the ramifications that its users (ie. us) are ignorant to.

But hey, life's all about the equilibrium. Right?

After reading Adam Ferrier's 'Social Media is Anti-social Media' [Consumer Psychologist] it made me think about the written word and how popular it is becoming. When I say written word, I really mean the typed word, that enters cyber-space through whatever social media site you subscribe to. Such sites are becoming increasingly popular with today's technology enthusiasts, ie. the generation of the noughties, so much so that an individual is more than happy to make their mark, but neglects to think of the consequences.

Social media sites, such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and even Blogger enable opinions to be heard. They are port-holes through which one can voice their concerns and sometimes make a difference. Of course one would have to go a step further than merely informing Sally Tyler about 'all the crazy things she may have done last night'. What I refer to is Facebook groups that attempt to gather like-minded people together for the good of the cause. In Ferrier's article, he refers to a group of NSW Corrective Services Officers who formed a facebook group which 'opposed the privatisation of Australia's prisons' and in turn may be reprimanded for their actions.

The officers advocate that creating the group is no different to heading to the local pub and having a gripe. The key difference, unfortunately, is that unintentionally these individuals have created evidence that has the potential to work against them. Everything that they have discussed in the casually created group puts them at risk of being fired. In an age where every man and his dog is hastily typing away and pressing submit, it does not help that the internet is 'unconstrained and indeed unconstrainable by state' [ETA]. No doubt the defamation laws are in over-drive.

Ferrier believes that these days everyone should be vigilant with what they decide to publish on the web, stating that such a way of life 'fosters a culture of nervousness'. Although I agree that those who share their opinions via the web should choose their words carefully, I do not believe that enough attention is being given to cause any apprehension. Instead, we are constantly inundated with new and improved ways of cyberally expressing our opinions that we are forgetting to approach with caution.

We are like kids in a candy store, with a credit card to boot; filling our lolly bags with every colour of the rainbow before stuffing them in our big -opinionated- gobs. However, we negelct to pre-empt that upset stomach, that understandably, follows in suit.

Due to the vast and sometime unexplored territory that is the internet I do not believe there is much the government can do to regulate what is 'said'. Instead, it is up to the individual whose finger tips are skipping over the keys, to decide which words should not be 'said'.

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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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