Monday, 4 November 2013

Twitter Me This...

I spend too much time on social media - it comes with this new territory I reside in, in that it provides a constant distraction and helps to pass the many hours I have to fill. It becomes its own addiction - following conversations and debates you might not otherwise be privy to and generally learning through osmosis what people you thought you knew, really think. While Twitter remains a more hostile, anything goes environment -short, sharp and often infuriating in its lack of context - Facebook is its kinder, gentler cousin. But sharing and creating a persona through these outlets is obviously but a fraction of the whole of the story for the people who reside there - and what they choose not to share is as telling as what they hold out for all to see. On Twitter - a domain of the stubbornly opinionated - the prospect of actually changing another's worldview is unlikely - people tend to stick to their camps, politically speaking at a minimum - and generally it takes more than 140 characters to influence someone's thinking - though perhaps every so often it prompts a small nudge in another direction. Most fascinating to me is the license it has given many journalists to bypass any pretence of objectivity - the old adage of letting their audience make up their own minds - and freely expound on their personal soap-boxes and reactions - in a way that would not have been tolerated when I went to journalism school. Now the trend is to blog and generally speak their minds - pick sides - and it continues to unnerve me - even as I eat it up myself. Perhaps in some ways it is better for these biases to be out in the open - not disguised in subtle ways through the framing of a media story and the tone. It is indeed a brave new window into the people you know and many you don't - built for short attention spans, un-nerving in its immediacy and wonderful and infuriating in equal measure.

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