LETTERSocial media and its critics
Who came up with this title for everything from FaceBook to e-mail? Isn't it really "personal media"? It's the outlet for personal views and opinions, and the only "social" thing here is what we used to have, "Strawberry Socials" in the local church halls every spring. Or is it a "social gathering", where everyone stands around and just talks and talks, holding a cocktail. "Just talk" sounds more accurate than even "media", since we already have accepted meanings for "the media", or maybe "artists' media", the raw material artists use to express their personal opinions, visions and insights. Maybe that's what "social media" really means -- raw materials --but it's so tiresome to have friends forwarding the most banal (yet "cute") or the weirdest photo or bizarre video clip! Obviously no one suggests we shouldn't have or shouldn't use it -- what we would be wise to do is to understand and remind ourselves over and over about how unreliable its messages or content can be.
And then we have the traditional media actually quoting material from social media as though it was a poll, or facts, or a verifiable report. Is it too late? Have we already lost our great human intelligence to the gimmicks and flash of every new technology that comes along?