I am not typically comfortable using my business platform to discuss politics or controversial topics. While I certainly have my opinions, my company, with whom I share with my partner and sister, is not the proper platform on which to express them. However, in light of the recent violence sparked by videos posted to social media, and my role in the social media world, I feel obligated to comment. All of the events from the past week and even well before the two incidents in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, beg the question: who is accountable for what appears on social media for the world to see? Where do we draw the line?
I think we need to think long and hard about how we want our social media world to evolve. Is it entertainment? Marketing? News? A platform to air grievances? The answer is yes to all of those, but is there any topic that might be taboo? And who decides? I just read an article this morning about how a journalist wrote a piece about farmers participating in a state run research program on hemp, and when WKMS news tried to boost the post on Facebook, the ad was banned. (See the article here) I find it interesting that this is article on hemp is considered unacceptable but live streaming someone’s death, or videos showing people getting shot is A-OK? Honestly, I am perplexed.
And really, with virtually anyone with access to a phone having the ability to document what is going on around them, should those “in charge” be editing and banning content? This is Land of the Free, after all, should we be “free” to document and post anything we wish and toss it up for public interpretation? How will our communication change as time goes on? Are we desensitizing our future generations to accept this type of visual content as “normal”? As usual, I have a lot of questions.
One very important point to keep in mind, is that we as human beings need to be thoughtful and accountable for what we post out there in Social Media Land. We need to make sure that we are truly informed and educated about what is really going on around us. Social media isn’t the only resource we have to educate ourselves, yet, this is where most people consume their information. According to a study by Pew Research, 63% of Twitter and Facebook Users use the platforms as their source for news about events and issues. There is a very blurry line on social media between facts and mere comments and opinions. Just because you saw it on Facebook, or Twitter doesn’t mean you have all the facts. Understand the power and influence you have every time you post, comment, re-tweet or share. This is big stuff folks, understand your role and the impact it will have. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this, and what you think we can do as people, advertisers and companies to create the type of platform we need and want for what we consider to be modern day social media.