by Briana Campbell (@msmatchgirl)
Did you know that social media is going to ruin the world?
It’s going to ruin communication between people. It’s going to cause riots. It’s going to do a lot of very terrible things if we give it the chance.
Here’s the thing, people, throughout history, have turned into Chicken Little with her falling sky whenever a new technology comes on the scene.
A couple of them, I’m sure, you couldn’t imagine living your life without these days.
Telephone. Yes. That’s right. When the telephone first came on the scene, people were worried that it might change the social structure of communication (sound familiar). The telephone was seen to accelerate life at a, perhaps, unwanted pace. It allowed interruptions that were difficult to be ignored. It complicated things. People worried that the family structure would be changed, with wives and teens talking on the phone all day, as opposed to spending time with their families actually in front of them.
And in 1890, Mark Twain sent this now famous Christmas greeting:
“It is my heart-warmed and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.”
The fact is that in the 1800s, not many people had a lot of experience with technology and the telephone, to be frank, just made them nervous.
The other one, I’m sure you’ve guessed.
Television. Newton N Minow referred to television programming as a vast wasteland in a speech given in 1961. And he was not the only person to think this. Psychologists worried about the effects of television programming on the minds of young people. Social scientists wondered about how it would affect the nuclear family – would they bond together over programming, or would they each retreat into their own heads? Sitting together, but not together at all?
Social media platforms, as they evolve, are not likely to ruin the world. Will they change things? Help them to evolve? Sure. As we develop and adopt new technologies, it’s inevitable that they will help to change our world and the way we live in it and react to it.
But it’s reactionary to think that that change can only be for the worse.