The title is pretty dramatic but, being the devil’s advocate that I am, I set out to find the dark side of social media. I was curious after all the wonderful things we’ve been hearing about it recently. It seems only right that something whose praises are being sung in seemingly every medium I encounter (including our J School classes) would have a few skeletons hiding in the cyber-spatial closet.
Now the youtube clip is obviously not real (though comically realistic), but as it turns out, Facebook can hurt relationships and Twitter is wiping out our compassion for our fellow man. Plus, social media as a whole might be turning Generation Y (fellow students, that’s most of us) into a bunch of egotistical blowhards.
Granted, all of these articles and their findings are a little outdated (meaning a few months old, you could tweet like, a gazillion times in that period) and far from life changing. But there was a recent column by Roger Cohen (follow him on Twitter!) of the New York Times that I found extremely relevant to our class discussions and posts lately.
Cohen writes specifically at first about the Iranian citizen-journalists and their value. He makes a really interesting point about the uses of Twitter versus the value of real journalists who can “bear witness”. He acknowledges that there are those who disagree with him, such as Arianna Huffinton, and also mentions our friend Clay Shirky.
What about you? Are you a Facebook-inspired narcissist? Do you buy into Cohen’s journalism as a distillation and organizational process? Or have you already tweeted three times about the preposterous notions in this post before you’ve even finished reading it?