One of the topics my former students and I often discuss via Facebook chat, apart from politics, government, sports, and the occasional school news, is social media responsibility.
“Think before you click.” Sometimes, maybe out of haste, excitement, or plain poor judgment, we ‘trigger-click’ without really putting much thought into what we’re ‘liking’, what we’re commenting on whether to show our support or disgust over an issue, what we’re sharing or posting. How much thought do we actually put in what we read, what we ‘like’, and what we share particularly on Facebook (FB)?
Whatever a person does on his own Facebook page (or whatever social media he’s in) is his business, but that sort of freedom requires responsibility — a responsibility to at least know if what we’re sharing or posting is true and factual, and if from another source, if the information is accurate and reliable.
At this day and age, where it seems, we cannot control the flow of information we receive anymore, and that it seems natural already, the risk, I feel, lies in filtering all the information; Discern which are true from false, which are real from fake, and which are reliable or not. Post elections here in the Philippines, and I still see most people believing in even the most rubbish of news. I have seen many people fall prey (from the countless FB likes, comments, and shares) to that article in which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) supposedly declared our President as “the best President on the Solar System.” While I would want to see our President and our country making such a mark on the Solar System — no less, I can’t help but be amused at the hilarity of it, too.
From reposting quotable quotes, sharing funny personal anecdotes, and various kinds of videos that had gone viral for reasons that are either good or bad — that’s how we spread good vibes nowadays. I’ve seen countless “pasikatin natin ‘to” posts, and although at first, I understood the value in them, like many other things in the past, we have come to abuse this fad as well. Case in point, that viral photo of a man aboard the MRT, who according to the woman who took the photo and made the post, refused her his seat. After just days and numerous threats later, the man comes out explaining his side. Turns out, the man had just come from a graveyard shift and was feeling under the weather, and had absolutely no idea, he had offended anyone. Unfortunately, because of how quickly the photo and the accompanying narrative had spread, quite a damage had already been done — to the man.
I think, equally important to knowing the content of what we’re spreading on social media is our purpose — our intention for doing so, and to be sensitive and considerate enough to think ahead and know how people will feel about it, how people will react to it. Am I posting for awareness? To inform? To entertain? To spread good vibes? Is there a chance some people will be offended by my post?
Technology and social media have given us so much power. The unique and accessible power to teach and educate, to spread awareness and inform, to entertain and make others smile or laugh. On the other hand, it also gives us the power to destroy, ruin, and offend. And it is because of the latter that we should take hold of our values, as old school and as cheesy as that sounds, and be more considerate, more sensitive, more compassionate, and more conscientious, no matter the advances in technology and the amount of power social media can give us.