Social media musing

Contemplating the power of social media and tempering our desire for information.

The power of social media is manifest everyday.

As I write this, there is a Twitter buzz about the tweeting inside the company HMV as they fired their social media team, but before they changed their Twitter and Facebook passwords and administrators.

So the team tweeted all the details of the firings as they were going on, drawing attention to the importance of their jobs -how ironic and ingenious.

One of the strengths of social media is absolutely in how many people can be involved and be reached, nearly instantaneously.

But therein also lies the danger.

Unfortunately, in the immediacy of the medium, some things are lost – like facts.

I often have to remind myself to slow down and make sure I check things, and I am not always successful at getting it right, being one person, there will be mistakes.

Last week, when a horrible accident resulted in a serious injury to a local man, it was on Facebook before they were even in the hospital. Which led to all kinds of erroneous information and rumours.

While in any small town, rumours run rampant, as people seem to be naturally drawn to talk about what is going on in their community, even if they do not actually know first hand, we need to remember the power of words.

It can become increasingly difficult not to believe something the more people you hear it from, however, it can be necessary at times to ask yourself, did I hear this from someone firsthand?

If the story you have heard has never come from someone directly involved, then perhaps you might think about not repeating it.

It is difficult in places where everyone knows each other not to feel what you hear must be true because “everybody knows it” but then remember everybody once “knew” the world was flat and the sun rotated around the earth.

This is something I must keep reminding myself, because as I ask people involved in situations to explain what happened, I nearly always hear something different, and even within a small group with first hand knowledge of something, there will be differences in peoples’ experiences.

The importance of social media in staying connected is obvious, but also remember social media is not exactly confirmed news and things we say in any medium can have lasting impacts.