Scapegoating Social Media

21 Mar

At some point in time everyone needs someone or something to place blame upon. It is much easier and harmless to point the proverbial finger at an idea, concept or platform rather than to demand that individual take accountability for their perceived incorrect thoughts, speech, and actions. Currently , blaming social media for the pitfalls of society seems to be the safe thing to do for many pundits and journalists.

As of late, I have stumbled upon a series of articles blaming  social media networks and platforms for a variety of social issues. There have been reports that social networks cause users to exhibit signs of Tourette’s Syndrome, commonly referenced as “twitching”. Critics have speculated that social media users twitch , tic and have uncontrollable outburst unexplainably , and that by posting videos of their conditions through social media  makes the symptoms of the disorder spread.

Also, last summer there was allegedly an epidemic of so called flash mobs throughout certain areas of this United States that have been stated to have its origins through Facebook and Twitter communication. This then lead to false claims that these sites could potentially be used for non constructive purposes by so called ” urban youth”. None of these claims came to fruition.

Currently, the tragic shooting of Travon Martin in Florida has apparently caused a ” social media outrage”.  Trayvon was a teenaged black male that was  unarmed and shot by a neighborhood watch captain. There are many signs pointing to racism as the motivation. Many journalist are attempting to spin the reaction and calls for justice  as a social media movement for Trayvon – rather than general outrage being expressed through all platforms and venues.

In the “twitching” incident , the high school students reporting these symptoms should be viewed with strong scrutiny – people often times imitate what they see. In the so called flashmob epidemic , much of the media was creating hysteria and paranoia and using social media as a scapegoat for potential wrong doings. Finally , the tragic death of Trayvon Martin impacts people in both the digital and physical world. Attempting to label the reaction to the incident as a “social media movement” certainly marginalizes the reality and gravity of the incident. There is nothing tragic about social media as a platform. As a platform, it’s neutral and a reflection of the people that use it.

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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