Nov 27 2015

The Problem with Social Media

Ever since the birth of the internet, people have been sharing their thoughts and opinions on virtually everything. Even before the internet, on the BBS systems of the 80’s, people were discussing any subject you can imagine. In the mid 2000’s, social networks began to rise… Livejournal, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter… each one surpassing the next for interactivity and ease of sharing and interaction with other. As time passed, we went from guestbooks and emailing webmasters to personal profiles and instant, web based chatting both in Instant Messaging protocols, and via the very services used to post these thoughts.

Throughout this same time span, criticisms of what we now call social media have seemed to be consistent – people being distant from those they know and care about in real life is the one you commonly hear, and while that may be true, I feel there is a greater issue with social media on a whole, and it’s worthy of a bit of discussion here.

I’m not even going to be vague about it, I’m just going to outright say it – the problem with social media is people.

Yes, people, the driving element of social media, are it’s biggest flaw.

Of course, I need to explain what I mean with that. More correctly, it’s how people react to the sharing of ideas. See, naturally, when we see something we disagree with, we are inclined to express our disagreement. Some people are skilled at their articulation, and others, not so much. Some people share constructive discourse on the idea while others are not so polite. This itself isn’t the issue, but more, the fact that people extend this logic to the idea that just because they disagree, or don’t like something, it shouldn’t be said at all.

Now, I’m inclined to agree with this only slightly, in circumstance where the things being said are purely for hates sake, or are what would be considered harmful “trolling” in internet slang. Basically, if it’s hostile for the sake of being hostile, then it has no use in society, and while I still think people would have the right to say such, generally speaking the suppression of such is justified.

However, if the speech, no matter how opposing to an idea you hold dear, is stated in a method which shares the idea and its supporting reasons, in what amounts to an educated way, then while I may despise the message, I still feel it is articulated in a way that justifies it being shared.

This problem however, generally, isn’t an issue with people who interact regularly, be it in person, or on social media – usually, while disagreements happen, nothing extreme results, and life goes on as normal.

Sometimes, however, people seem to want to control what others can share, upset over the fact that they can even remotely see something they might not like.


I might as well go into this from personal example, which I have seen happen to others as well. I like to share my mind on my personal pages. I share exactly what I am thinking about something, regardless of how good or bad that thought may be.

The problem? People don’t want to see what they consider negative posts, and I can totally understand that; it’s not the best thing to wake up to, but, when it’s an honest thought that I feel people can relate to, or that they should know, what is the problem with me, or anyone, sharing such? It isn’t arbitrary hate, or done to upset anyone, it’s simply me sharing a thought.

This is compounded by the fact that outlets like Facebook tend to show people more negative posts than positive, but one can still visit my personal page and see all things I talk about, which, quite often, is just as many things I like as things I don’t like.

Indeed, as I said before, many of my negative posts are done as slight jokes, something you can relate to – stand up comedians do the same thing, and while I’m certainly no comedian, I do try to be funny, and people do laugh sometimes at my quips, or do related to what I am venting on.

Now, yes, if I really have such a problem with people being upset about my posts, I can just change how I post, but why should I have to? Why are my thoughts, when negative, so crucial to your day to day life, but when I am happy about something (such as something space history related) no one seems to care, or join in that fun?

You focus on the negativity – you seek what you hate, in most cases, it would seem.

For someone to want me to only post “happy thoughts” and the like, I have to ask – just who are you to control what I share on my social media accounts? Who are you to try to censor me when I am only sharing my exact thoughts, that I, as an individual human being, wish to share?

If you want to know my positive thoughts, ask me. I will happily share with you my love of rocketry, gaming history, technology, physics, and all the other things I just adore in the universe. Otherwise, I will share whatever I feel like on my own. Indeed, me venting on Facebook helps me release minor stresses during the day, and as I said, I try to make comedy out of such. I love to make people smile, not frown, but regardless, if I wish to share a thought with people, I am going to do it, regardless of what you may like or dislike about it.

That’s not me being mean, that’s me being me.

So, the problem with social media, as I said, is people. People wishing to censor the ideas of others to suit their own desires. People wishing to control the social media flow of others to suit their wants.

I’m sorry, but you just can’t do that. I don’t think my friends try to do it intentionally, and I doubt most people of any type intend to do such, but by requesting I, or anyone, change what they post, you are doing exactly that.

I for one, love to see the good and the bad in my friends lives because, we are all human, and we all have highs and lows in our lives. I like to know people as they really are, and I want people to know me as I really am. That is why I use social media as I do, and that is why I do not wish to change how I post on any medium – to do such is to betray who I am.

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