The Social Media, For Better or for Worse?

Human nature? The number of times I read complaints and hateful rantings from people from all walks of life in a week left me feeling a little sadder than the previous week. Why do I allow my curious mind to fixate on social media anyhow? Is it really worth my while?

Anyway, Mark Zuckerberg and Dick Costolo are still laughing all the way to their banks. Clever men that they are, I wonder if they truly expected social media networks to take off the way they did in the last few years. Mind boggling. And it appears that most of us have become quite dependent on it in our daily lives, like slaves to their wheels. The last time I checked, Zuckerberg’s Facebook was doing extremely well on the New York Stock Exchange since it’s historic IPO. And then there’s Google.

One thing I do know today, the late Steve Jobs, a visionary entrepreneur in his day, was years ahead of infinite time. He knew. I cannot say the same for Bill Gates, but that’s just my subjective conscience speaking to me in solidarity with Jobs. A major concern had always been how many thousands of jobs, no pun intended, would be shredded as the new electronic order took the place of manual labour and laborious pen-pushing. Charles Dickens may have shuddered in his grave at some stage of the social media evolution. He may have also worried that people may stop reading his timeless classics altogether.

Thankfully, I’m still old-fashioned and have an unusual love affair with hard-covered books and its musty smell wafting across the local library’s isles. The social media environment has been a blessing to me in more ways than one. Crowd-averse, libraries, well my library anyway, are not chock-full of people as say your local supermarket is during the heady hours of the day. And, this is not entirely a bad thing either, because there are those who rely on up to date electronic devices to source the timeless classics, such as Dickens’ A Christmas Tale, rather than schlep down to the library. They may be bed-ridden, or in a wheel chair. Or they may be impoverished and stuck in the middle of no-where, so social media and the devices needed to power them are not entirely a bad thing.

It can also empower people to giddy entrepreneurial heights never before conceived. Particularly during these uncertain economic times. I think Jobs knew this day would come. Only the die-hard Apple disciples can tell you that this is so. Difficult and busy days, with or without the benefit of a motor car or public transport, often prevent families from visiting one another like they used to do when Grandma and Grandpa were still around. Today, we can still communicate with one another via social media. And keep in touch. Share the sadness. And the good news.

But, I’m still stubbornly old-fashioned. The day I start using Google Maps will probably be when I’m lost in space. Drudged to their desks, challenged for discipline, desire beginning to sap both physical and mental reserves, and also feeling a little lonely, people turn to their favourite social media networks. They tweet. Or they go to Facebook. Start a conversation, talk about their day. But, wait, there’s someone sitting right opposite you.

Some tweet about the fabulous lunch they bought at their favourite deli or supermarket, offering the retailer a generous serving of free advertising to the bargain. I’m a tad cynical, so I refuse to share such good news with my unseen friends. Or is it principle? Anyway, we are all different. And that, to me, is still a good thing. I wouldn’t want to live in a world filled with cyphers all thinking alike. A world which makes George Orwell’s world shine in comparison. But, I’m afraid, I think we’re heading in that direction already. Talk about human drones.

I’m a private bloke, so how I’m feeling on good days and bad days is not for the world to know. If I can somehow squeeze myself to tell them, those few that count in my life may yet know. But there won’t be any guns blazing. I’ve curbed my enthusiasm. It’s a dangerous world, filled with hatred and venom. Even in cyberspace. So, unless I have something thoughtful or useful to say or share, I won’t join the throngs of mindless morons spewing on about why a certain pederast got off Scott free, or why the country’s president doesn’t resign already. We could be talking about any country in the world right now, but never mind, most of us, thankfully, live in societies, free and democratic and with the potential to still change for the better.

We can talk to Barack Obama, or Jeb Bush, the next president of the USA. Yep, you heard it from me (Charlie Frost voice). We can’t talk to Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping, that much is certain. It becomes a little dangerous. Or pointless. It’s pointless engaging with mad, hateful ignorant, racist cyber-tyrants, Semitic or anti-Semitic, wooden, or flesh and blood. You’ll never get through. Rather read a book or two. And learn stuff. From the library, or on-line. Both ways serve us well. It’s up to us. We have that freedom to choose to do the right things and the things that really matter in this life or the next life.

Jesus once said, well if nobody listens, or chooses not to believe your testimony, move on. Simple. But, being human, not always easy to do. Anyway, I do think we complain too much. Let’s rather fix our own broken windows first before we vent our spleen on our neighbour, whether seen or unseen. If I’m not mistaken, the visionary Steve Jobs was a Buddhist during his short life on earth. He had a plan, and his plan was good. What those have done otherwise, is not the fault of the creator.

God gave us the freedom of choice. It is up to us to make the best use of those tools that He Blessed us with.

 

 

 

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