Facebook data breach - Aleksandr Kogan

Our Lives Defined by Social Media

It’s no secret social media has such a powerful impact on our lives.

Since Myspace and the early days of Facebook, millions set up new profiles to network with their friends and many others across the web.

And it’s not just the young that are on social media…

Older parents, aunties, uncles and even the elderly were jumping on board this social media trend.

Suddenly it became a HUGE part of our lives. Taking us to a stage where social media, and its vulnerabilities to the echo chamber effect and ‘fake news’ became a massive part of the 2016 US presidential election.

The internet knows us better than we know ourselves

Our job, sexual orientation, education, family, location — and much more — can be defined from our Facebook interactions.

With our digital footprint, machines are able to implement our personality within a digital landscape.

Social media is designed to keep us invested and returning on a regular basis.

We all log into Facebook for various reasons.

And the social media giant has been expanding those reasons for years.

These include gaming, networking, keeping up to date on our friends’ lives, and joining and participating in various Facebook groups that hold our interests.

Some of these factors can lead to establishing new friendships and other networking prospects. But many negative effects can potentially take place. Such as celebrity obsession, cyber bullying, and a tendency to only seek out opinions that reinforce your own. 

That last problem is perhaps the most important effect that social media is having on the wider world. The ability to find ever more-specific groups to suit your particular beliefs is cutting us off from contrary opinions.

Social media has become a valid platform to assert one’s agenda.

And it’s happening right now. The recent Florida shootings have set off an anti-NRA campaign online.

The #BoycottNRA hashtag is spreading all throughout social media, and has even prompted many companies to cut ties with the NRA. As activists continue to spread their cause across social media platforms, it is entirely possible that many more companies will drop association with the NRA.

This is only the latest social media-driven political campaign. The fact is, politicians of every stripe are increasingly relying on social media not just for marketing, but to broadcast their message, and hear back from the public.

This serves as an example of just how powerful social media has become politically.

Younger generations have grown up in this digital culture, and haven’t known much outside of it. As time passes, the influence of social media in politics will only grow.

Arguably, the individually-driven nature of social media could place more power in the hands of the people, and less in that of lobbyists, party insiders and powerbrokers.

But never forget that the companies behind social media apps and websites have their own agenda. They can control or influence the messages going out on their platforms, and who those messages do or don’t reach. And they’re unlikely to refrain from using that new-found power and influence.

By Nathan Frank

 

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
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Comments: 4

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  1. Yes, social media can influence opinions especially if unbiased facts are allowed to ciculate. But, as we have seen, people have agendas, & the social media platforms/creators have theirs as well. When Google & facebook get to control the narrative & what you think, I’m sorry, but we have a real problem. We need to understand this, & be able to discern between unbiased facts & agenda driven narratives, so we can formulate our own informed (not manipulated) opinions.

  2. Too true Kathy M! Too true.
    Just why I refuse to join any of these social media abominations. Too much Bollocks going on within them. People are so damn fickle and no damn good (as Doug Mulray used to say). They’re sheeples to say the least. Believing any tripe some wannabe splashes around.
    The ME TOO movement has gone of it’s main topic and point now with too many made up stories to help people get 5 seconds of fame or just because. Yes it’s helped people speak out and expose things but now innocent folk are copping it also. But I suppose, if someone tells a lie repeatedly over and over it ends up becoming real. It’s gone too far and people are even manipulating themselves without realizing it. As Kathy said, too many agenda driven narratives and opinions get air and sheeples absorb the lot! Schools should have subject on the reality of social media platforms and their countless forms. Far too many people can’t help but get on any bandwagon that rolls by. Idiots.

  3. There is a tool for students called the CRAAP test, designed to help students sort the wheat from the chaff on the internet as a project and learning tool.
    At the foundation it is just formalising clear thinking and verification of information.
    Check it out

    1. Trouble is though, CRAAP is not widely known or taught across the board otherwise there wouldn’t be so many snowflakes and tossers among the millennials.