Beware of Share
Social media is indeed a wondrous thing. News events, products to sell, fund-raising efforts and family moments can be instantly disseminated, long-lost school-friends and distant cousins can be rediscovered, and you can be entertained by heartwarming video clips of kittens and puppies being cute - if that’s your thing.
And then there’s the ‘news’. When it all started way back there in the early nineties, one of the main positives cited by the enthusiasts was the democratisation of the media. It was the age of citizen journalism when news was raw and unfiltered - not presented through the eyes of the big, powerful media barons or influenced by some conspiracy driven government agenda.
The ordinary people were certainly given the power to tell it how it was. But here’s the rub. Now anyone can say anything and claim it as the truth. And, much worse than the mainstream media, they can do it anonymously and so bear no responsibility.
So as much as we might complain about some elements of the media being loose with the truth and driven by their own agendas, at least we can identify who has written and potentially hold them to account.
But there’s an even greater problem. Misinformation, distorted opinion based on non-facts, defamation and blatant lies are not just posted, but they spread like the wildfire we are now so familiar with, creating a whole new ‘weather’ situation (or reality) of its own. And what fans the flames? That SHARE button so many are willing to click without a thought!
So when you get the urge to share something that, at first glance, might even align with your own opinion, please check the facts, consider who it is coming from (if you know) and the effect of spreading this message onto others. And remember - just because you agree with it doesn’t make it true!