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Social Media's Collateral Damage

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A recent NY times article, titled "Tweet less, Read More," talked about the trend of increasing hasty, nasty, impulsive, and sometimes rude exchange of posts in the internet social-media tools.   I found it valuable and addressing a  real concern which I share with the writer. It urges social media users to tweet less, and think before tweeting.

But I wish someone writes about the other extreme.   I mean social-media members who are completely passive. People who join all kinds of social-media groups with complete selfishness, with their minds made up. No contribution at all.   Just to know people and what they are thinking and benefit from their contributions, but never share with them your own knowledge or experience.

This tactic is used by some who think by knowing what people think but not letting them know what you think, you get an advantage over them. This is a very shortsighted view. Luckily, there are more positive users than the passive ones.   A positive contribution breeds a more positive one. Remaining silent and inactive in social-media groups, one loses a valuable chance of asking and interacting.   Furthermore, and more importantly, the silent loses on one of the best learning channels.   Criticism and critique made by others on your social media contributions are very valuable. I have learned from this more than I would have thought.

Social-media group's administrators have been suspending memberships for all kind of reasons. But, unfortunately, non-contribution is not among them.

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The other issue of concern is the misuse of social media.   We now live in the midst of social-media boom. Who could have imagined that someone in deep China and someone in the Saudi desert and a third in the Amazon jungle can talk live and exchange all kinds of ideas and opinion completely censorship-free?   So much have been said about this being a victory for freedom.   Indeed it is. But how much have been said about the collateral damage that comes with it?.   Corruption, fraud, extortion, and terrorism thrived on this technological advancement.

The internet social media tools are abundant with rumors and false stories that are made up and pseudo names taken for the purpose of unethically defeat a political opponent or to distort the reputation of a company or a successful man, motivated by sheer envy or hate. Unfortunately that doesn't always get discounted; instead it finds its way to the minds of the misinformed and the uninformed.

Hamad S Alomar

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Riyadh  

 

 

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