09 Nov 2016

Social media lets us voice and share opinions without the pressure of a direct conversation and with the time to research an argument would we meet any disagreement among our followers. Lately, due to various global events, people have taken to social media to express their opinions. My feeds are filled with links to opinion pieces and posts calling for help to people in need.

But the issue lies in who we are reaching – because social media can also be deceivingly limited. Algorithms aside, the networks we choose to keep on social media are (in most cases) open to the public and most of our acquaintances have access to our friend lists. Users are aware of this, and it certainly plays a part in our decision-making when we choose to “accept” or “deny” a friend/follower request. So how does this affect the communications efficiency that social media is so very famous for?

Well I assume the majority of my social media connections share a relatively close view to mine; it’s probably safe to assume that most of my acquaintances are against injustice and are human/equal rights supporters. On top of this, the most active posters on these subjects are my friends who are involved or work for non-profits. Naturally a quick glance through their friends lists show that their networks are even more (if possible) pro all relevant equality and rights issues.

Given these facts, one question comes to mind – are we all just preaching to the choir? All of these calls – for help, for change, for disruption – what do they lead to, if everyone who read our opinions agree with what is being said?

We can continue to share our opinions and impressions with our connections, there is still great importance in the support you share, but ultimately what difference are we making if we don’t actually change any one’s mind?

If regular users of social media use it to request behavioural change, there is need for us to change the way we maintain our personal social media networks. Ultimately, we need to decide if we want to use them to talk to our friends in a like-minded community, or if we want to use the platforms to reach out to a larger audience where we will encounter uncomfortable opinions that don’t match ours and through this reach the groups we intended to reach through our initial posts.

Because in the end that’s the point, right?

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