Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Issues of Our Times: Social Media, Bots, and Greed

All over social media, people are forwarding their point of view.

All over social media, people are pushing their agenda in ways big and small.

Social media has created a world conversation, and that conversation like any world interaction is influenced by power, money, and time.

Of course a building full of tweeters and robo-tweeters with an agenda will have more power than a single tweeter, thus the troll effect.

What does that mean for us as a people as we continue to engage with social media and as our world becomes more and more connected?

First it means that we have to connect with others whom we trust and believe in to increase our influence with regard to the country and agenda we believe in and support.

We also have to shine the light on what is happening with regard to world interactions and social media use. In schools we have to teach students how to vet social media posts and information to recognize what is real and what is honest reporting.

We have to make sure that our actions reflect our words and beliefs too. Words alone have little power, but words that reflect action are powerful.

As I think of what's happening in our world, I am noticing the following actions and efforts which need attention:
  • I worry about the decline of family strength and commitment. I want to research that more, but it seems that the family dynamic may be weakening and this weakening may be hurting children and others in the community. Note I support "family" as a group of people who are committed to loving each other and caring for each other. Above all I believe that family structures of any kind have to put children first and care for those children above all else.
  • I worry about an economy of greed where many are using money, influence, time, and power to increase their self-serving agendas rather than reaching out to build strong, safe, and environmentally friendly communities of care for all.
  • I worry about values misplaced where people are supporting people and agendas who don't care about a better life for all people.
  • I worry about a culture that is satisfied with soundbites rather than looking deeper and learning more about the issues that affect us. 
  • I worry about the complacency with regard to mistreatment of the world's people and the growing gap between the haves and have-nots.
  • I worry that too many people are silent in the face of a democracy that requires people to speak up and act in order to preserve our rights, freedom, and opportunity. 
  • I worry that people are not willing to sacrifice individual wealth for community good--investment in strong, vibrant, dynamic communities is an investment into better living for all. 
Cyber influence occurs in every country, and it is our nation's responsibility to make sure that our democracy is not unduly influenced by cyber attacks. It is also the responsibility of every official to stand up against this cyber influence and not use it to their advantage. We have to be smart about this and learn to recognize it, report it, and block it so we can use social media in positive ways. 

Further we have to get underneath those that continually misuse individuals, power, and money to corrode our culture. Those that make money from irresponsible gun promotion, pornography, misleading marketing, unhealthy foods/events, and more need to be identified, scrutinized, and exposed so that our young people and others know who is playing them and how they are profiting from this misuse of power and greed. We also have to tighten up the laws that allow people like some of our current leaders to borrow millions of dollars to increase their wealth while taking advantage of bankruptcy and other laws that end up taking money and opportunity away from others while they stock their personal coffers.

To summarize, I believe the biggest problem in our society right now is greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for what is right and good for one another. We need to work against the greed that leads some powerful people to ruin our environment (Koch Brothers), take more than their share of land/opportunity, corrode our country's freedoms and opportunity for their self gain, and promote a way of living that does not elevate who we are as humans. 

How do we fight against this greed and selfishness in our own living and the living of others. I believe this is the issue of our times. Do you agree?