Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon. (Matthew 16:18)
The great social media experiment has failed.
Not for lack of trying, mind you. At first, it was a great way to reconnect with old friends, former love interests, family members and all. Then one thing happened to ruin all that and it is entirely our fault.
In a social media forum, it's best to discuss the latest box office movie, exciting sporting event and personalities we see daily. When you add politics into this batch of this version of a digital meeting room, chaos happens. Take for example, the results of last week dragging on to this one. Folks cannot stop talking about this year's presidential election. They can't get enough of who won, who lost, who needs to concede and who needs to take evidence to court. Guess what reader? You might be one of the millions of users who will pounce and express your opinion in the comments section (which by the way, has been turned off for my own sanity. You know how to find me. Smile).
Folks, as stated in a previous post, we treat politics like they're WWE matches. The shouting, the attitude, even the swearing proves we all take it more seriously than we should. No one's coming to take your freedom, no oneâs out to get you, this country will not be destroyed by foreign or domestic actors of a fringe element. Not to say, they will try because they will (country that used to be a base for the former Soviet Union comes to mind). Yet through all the shouting, yelling, middle finger displays, we're still here. We get to vote for who we feel has our interests at heart from the national right down to the local level. We get to vote for presidents, governors, mayors, judges, school board representatives, even dog catcher! We've always had fearmongers telling us the sky is falling when in fact, it has not. Like today in my Southern California headquarters, I could take a walk and enjoy the slight breeze against me. I, as a Black man felt as free as I could be (even though that could change at any minute due to rogue law enforcement) with a smile on my face this country although it has changed in attitude, still upholds the basic rights we have as citizens. That will never change.
On social media, it's another story. There is a vocal crowd who disapproves of the results of the previous election, just like the other side they mock when they're the victors. Now they are the ones who have been defeated (so far) vowing to find their own hub in cyberspace where their views can be heard and heard alone. Their own.....safe space. They have every right to complain, argue over the results of the election, it's within their right to protest publicly. Within the confines of social media, it turns friends into foes, family members into hated kin. It's clear this country which prides itself on unification is now deeply divided all for the sake of a party rather than country.
Facebook, Twitter, and the rest were all great experiments linking people from various parts of the world to communicate with each other. You could live in California and speak with a longtime friend on the other side of the country. You could link up to a pop culture icon's account to see what he or she are doing. It was supposed to be so easy on this super information highway until it became a matter of life and death about which candidate, which ideology, which political party you align yourself with. Then it turned serious. Name calling, cussing out other users, blocking accounts, moving to other social media platforms where the ideological ideas you uphold are guaranteed life. Is this what we turned into? Is this what we deserve? Is this finally who we are?
If nothing else, 2020 is the year where everything is exposed, even our relationships with individuals who we thought were our friends hinge whether or not we agree with their political views or not. It's where family members support a point of view that if disagreed by another family member results into vile language and digital venom. Social media platforms are like a village. Not everyone in the village will get along so the same concept applies for the digital social world. There will be complaints mentioned online mocking our national and social leaders, memes posted to express discontent of the handling of their daily affairs. Modern trends in pop culture that differs from the traditions a generation is used to will be challenged. This is how the world is since the beginning of time. Not everyone is going to get along. There will be disputes. There will be agreements. It's all a matter of finding common ground with each other. In today's volatile age, the job of maintaining commonality will be hard, but it can be done. This author will not tell you how it will be done, but we have to try to make it so. If we can do that, then this grand experiment of social media will thrive. If not, it deserves to burn up in flames.