SOCIAL MEDIA PHILOSOPHY
– Shruti Parmar
From conversations at Gaylord College, OU, U.S.A.
UNDERSTANDING A NEW WORLD ORDER
I have often challenged New Media.
And therefore, I arrived for the SUSI Institute on New Media in Journalism this May with lots of fascination but very little trust in the powerful medium of New Media technology and what it does to us. But three weeks at Gaylord and I have more confidently developed my own understanding of this upcoming Super Power- of how I can be a good citizen within it and most importantly – why.
New Media now challenges me.
NEW MEDIA AND EVOLUTION
Being SBPSophiaCollege on Facebook and SophiaSBP on Twitter brings a quick discussion with everyone who finds me there on my problems with Social Media. Defending this with my co-SUSI people and the American students Rebecca, Michael, Juan and Katherine and disguising my challenges into questions with everyone we meet, helped me form the opinion I’ve expressed below. Let me know what you think!
Technology has always paved the way for evolution. And more often than not, evolution has importantly had at its core a new means to achieve the human gregarious need for communication. From the ability of homo sapiens to stand up straight and allow the potential for sign language and cave paintings, to the invention of the wheel and laying of road ways that speeded up human interaction and the discovery of new lands and people. Whether it is the shift from battlefields to UN councils for discussions or the latest reservation policies that demand a voice for the minorities. Communication tools change the world’s story. Because they change our individual experiences.
The Internet and Social Media are our latest evolutionary tools. They enable for the first time in human history a connection between ALL of us on digital platforms. We each have the ability, that we would today call power, to tell our story and access and share opinions from around the world easily and for almost no charge in a matter of seconds. That’s a lot, relatively. It redefines our position in society. A revolution of digital gadgets are felicitating and conspiring for our unity and creativity on these platforms.
Change is overcoming it’s inertia and life on earth will never be the same again. Really.
Here are five of many ideas that I’ve come to understand with regards to Social Media tools and their usage..
It’s easy to dismiss Social Media usage as vanity, voyeurism, manipulation or stupidity at first (like I did); however, building our identity in society and self-expression is somehow all that we live for. Social Media works because it gives everybody a platform in front of the world and especially with people and things we care about. It’s up to us however to define our voice.
Articulating a virtual life and being creators of content simultaneously within the real world can be chaotic, but, the idea of influence through one’s personal brand and single identity on Social Media has never been more crucial.
All statistics and examples speak volumes for the potential and impact of Social Media. As access to the Internet grows and New Media technology simplifies, the networking web becomes the greatest wealth of knowledge we have ever known. Exposure to different people and awareness of their activities, diversity and wisdom can be an inspirational teacher. Interaction, debate and revolution have hardly been simpler.
What’s most interesting however, is the evolution within Social Media. The balance between a picture of your blueberry cheesecake and why we must attend the latest Slut Walk. It ignites collective care, idealism, courage and strength.
Its a complete attitude shift. Like our wisest and coolest professor Chris Krug tells us (and we tried this at Thunder Alley), it’s just like – a Mexican wave. We need to start (sometimes alone in our communities, sometimes joining an existing wave) to shift from the training of passivity, to being a usefully deliberative democracy with contribution, debate and respect.
When every citizen is capable of random acts of journalism, publishing power can thrust such micro enterprise to spread fast and wide through the Social Media fire and create significant tremors in the real world. We now have the power to shape what’s happening, to take initiative, to demand accountability more easily than ever before and therefore, the responsibility to make best use of that power.
We have some of our most profound sessions with Dr. David Craig, a media ethics scholar. He’s helped us set our priorities in the contextually conflicting world of values in Social Media. Seek truth and report it. Minimize harm. Act independently. Be accountable.
Privacy and freedom of expression are however the key issues in an age of identity theft and censorship. The impact and permanence of voluntarily provided content on Social Media, it’s use and misuse are providing interesting law suit trials and await coding solutions and global policies.
The biggest change is the personal lifestyle shift to Social Media commitment. As Victor Hernandez from CNN told us, it’s about choosing what we’re comfortable with and engaging effectively with the excitement of networking of those you went to school with, those you wish you went to school with and everyone else in this world.
It’s the New World Order of Social Media. Let’s be prepared to engage with its philosophy. Let’s be prepared – to Evolve.