Social Media. Oxymoron?

twoopsIf you’ve read some of the nasty tweets that people have put out there and then had to apologize for, it makes you wonder what is so social about social media? When you can insult an entire race, country or individual in less than 140 characters, maybe it’s just too easy.

Perhaps Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and the other social media tools have actually become antisocial media. Trump insults everyone. Louis C.K. insults his fans. Courtney Love…oh, forget it. Hundreds of corporate employees have put Tweets out in the internet-o-sphere and then had to walk them back with major mea culpas if they wanted to keep their jobs.

And celebrity apologies? Take your pick. Oprah has had to eat her words. So has Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Weiner (oy vey, not just words but pictures too), Adam Carolla, Kristen Stewart  (sorry I cheated), Hugh Jackman, Spike Lee, Justin Timberlake, Roseanne Barr, Daniel Tosh, Kanye West, and the list goes on and on. If you don’t know some of these names, just trust me. They overshared or said something totally insensitive and idiotic.

But are celebrities really that different from journalists, twoopspoliticians and just plain folks when it comes to self-censoring their social media output? Email and social media have just made it so darn convenient to put words, thoughts and pictures out there without a second thought. Could your words be hurtful? Of course. Would be helpful if you reread what you just wrote and thought about whether some people might misunderstand your meaning or find it offensive? You bet. Do the serial Tweeters ever think before they type something and hit the Tweet button? Apparently not, as there are news items each and every day that detail the latest social media train wreck.

One can only guess where the social media phenomenon is headed. I can envision the day when you no longer have to type your thoughts because your computer (or the Mind Reader that replaces it) will know exactly what you’re thinking and blab it out to the whole world. There will be no opportunity for reflection or self-editing. Imagine projectile vomiting of your innermost thoughts if that metaphor is not too gross. If you think that’s what we have now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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