November 21, 2016
This particular presidential election season has caused major turmoil among friends, and relatives who follow each other on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, StumbleUpon, and other social media. These conflicts of belief, political perspectives, and prejudices have caused a great deal of shouting, name calling, real and imagined threats against each other, blocking, and deleting various people across social media. No doubt many of the opposite values of these social media users has ripped at the hearts of those struck by former friends, and relatives alike.
What has caused these rifts of loyalty? Why has this fabric of communication been ripped apart, and sometimes over trifle events? Concrete answers are difficult to find and complex iin nature, requiring thoughtful responses. Parts of the problem may be found in the advent of social media, the light speed advance of technology, and the isolation of using electronic communication devices, smart phones, if you will.
Social media, for example, can be viewed as an oxymoron. Social media in one version of the phrase is not social at all. It is the exact opposite. By way of illustration, two people texting each other, though they occupy the same room, or possibly the same table, arrive at a place of abrupt and adverse viewpoints. Why not just have a conversation, verbally? One can hear voice intonation, word emphasis, and strength or weakness of thought conveyed in a statement.
In another example, people in different states who are having the same textual conversation may terminate a friendship acrimoniously due to indelicate or thoughtless statements. By continually using social media as a major form of communication, dissemination of ideas, thoughts and beliefs lose major values of context. This can bring about a loss of sensitivity for the other person, their perspective, their social norms, and their value as humans.
The rapid advance of technology is also a culprit. A majority of elderly people have not been educated in smart phones, tablets, laptops, and computers in general. This is a major divide between the young and old. A whole generation of people are left out of a major avenue of communication; polite conversation and the manners and respect for each other as human beings. The young do not know how to hold a complex and involved conversation between themselves, or their elders. This is a serious issue for everyone.
Smart phones may have more technology packed into them than the Library of Congress has books, but their constant and continuous use has provided invisible walls of separation between friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Walking into a breakroom during work, three other people are in the room, all of them looking at phones and texting or browsing the internet. They are all shut off from each other and probably do not even know the last name of the person sitting next to them.
As a result, the only tangible of this election has been the awakening of the realization of how misconstrued information resulted in a surprise political victory. Many people who were polled did not really want to reveal who they were voting for or against and lied about it instead. The rest did not vote, thus sending a message of their own to both political parties. All this name calling of each other on social media and 'de-friending' people because of instant and emotional responses instead of calm, well thought out replies have had the effect of further separation between dissimilar groups of people.
One is tempted to believe these magical communication devices capable of uniting everyone, in causes, in useful conversation, and effective communication. The sad opposite is true. Perhaps this election cycle is a turning point, a peak moment in history of understanding the power of technology when it is used in a beneficial and cooperative manner. One can hope and dream.
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