WHOSE SOCIAL MEDIA ARE YOU ON?

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JAY COLIOS-TERRY

Last year’s US elections have proven that the world we live in...and the way we digest information has changed, polls best guesses are inaccurate and only our social media overlords know the true picture of global opinion.


I was spouting anti-trump, pro-fact vitriol on Facebook, much like my friends who fill my feed.

But in the social media age we are all nodes, conditioned to digest the feed of social-news, post, respond and repeat.
This change in the way we digest our information causes something else to happen; a paradigm shift in what we share with others and who those others are.

In a word, Perspective.

From my perspective, a 32 year old European man with strong female and male role models; my social media is liberal, vibrant, and positively feminist! That's the way I decided it should be, those who have broken my unwritten "don't be a dick" rules have been nixed from my friends-list, never to be thought of again.

And therein lies our new problem, the echo chamber, the warm online hug. The lie we get to live in is more international and acceptable than ever. Read the right papers and you'll think that foreigners are thieves (who are also able to steal your job), but go on Facebook and select what you digest and you can live without the real view of the masses and exist in your own bubble.

Imagine for a second that the people you disagree fundamentally with, people whom you’ve probably removed from your online social sphere, have also been doing the same thing with those that disagree with their (unpalatable) world view. With that in mind It's not hard to see why it's so hard to make progress on a whole range of issues. People just don't talk anymore.

My social media has almost no gender inequality nor racism, no extremists nor flat-earthers.

This brings me to my (simplistic) conclusion on how to affect change or at least be part of a different conversation online… befriend an idiot, join a group you disagree with or post publicly once in a while. I've spent half the year reminding a technologically illiterate group on Facebook to check their news sources (I’ve mainly done this by checking the news source for them and debunking it). I think of it like doing community service, forcing people to at least see that using quotes from Alex Jones to back up your position is probably not a great idea.
(If you don't know who Alex Jones is give yourself a pat on the back and then go on YouTube prepared to think slightly less of humanity)

So take another look at your friends-list.
Is the item you’re about to post designed to provoke conversation?
Are you posting things that your carefully curated friends-list will all just going to agree with?
Think about joining a group that broadens the reach of that item and share there instead.
(Geographical groups are a good place to start as you’re bound to find supporters and detractors, but at least healthy conversation)