It's about time we throw an icy cold bucket of water on our rutting love affair with social media. Why's that? Well, for the same reasons we we'd like to throw an icy cold bucket of water on any of our love-sick friends in the grips of that sticky-sweet, incorrigible stage of the love affair when they can't seem to think straight, when both sides believe the other is perfect in every way, beautiful beyond words, and that great suffering comes from their separation. In short, this is the part of the love affair when all rational thought takes a holiday, and, its the part of our love affair with social media that many of its users seem to be stuck in.
This is the sad truth. What is more, social media seems to be the very force prolonging this sorry state of affairs to the extent that participation in it seems to be the primary ingredient leading to the habituation of such vacuous behaviour. For the most part, social media asks its participants for decisions without reasons, opinions without explanations, assertions without support. In effect, it asks us to set aside reflection, contemplation, rationality, and critical thought under the false proposition that it's our opinions, likes, and dislikes that define our characters, not how we arrive at them. Social media offers no books, just covers and judgements.
The scary fact of the matter is that we risk letting this false proposition come true if we allow our love affair to continue unchecked and without giving serious consideration to the impact its having on our cognitive habits.
I suppose the best example of what I'm talking about here is the recent #isupport and #idontsupport trend on twitter. These two hashtags have unspired (not a typo, "unspired" = the past tense of the verb "unspire" meaning to stimulate expression by sucking out the spirit) literally millions of empty slogans, affirmations and denials (even, I'm ashamed to say, a few of my own) offerred with absolutely no explanation or support whatsoever. Of course, the entire medium that is twitter is set up this way, after all what sort of defence of one's views can one expect to offer in 140 characters or less? None, of course! Take a look for yourself, grand and presumably passionate expressions of support for issues like the education of women, the liberty of nations, and the political futures of all the world's nations are juxtaposed in these ever-growing streams against shout-outs to friends, props for musicians, postering, and outright insults. For each and every tweet in the first group there's half a dozen from the second group, reducing the lot of them to vacuous self-affirmation.