Jason Whitlock had some harsh words for everyone when he pointed out that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are not the real world.
Cyber Humans vs Humans: The culture war no one is talking about, the culture war Humans are losing, the culture war tearing apart America. pic.twitter.com/67J9MRR8rY
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 23, 2016
These social media platforms are places that people can go to when they want to voice their outrage against everyone who doesn’t think and act as they do. Whitlock was not only speaking about the Colin Kaepernick protest that has gripped the country, but also about how we live our lives in the 21st century.
Freedom of speech is something that everyone claims to support, but all too often the only freedom of speech that is truly supported is when it’s spouted by someone who is on the proverbial “right side of history.” It doesn’t matter if I support why Kaepernick is protesting. What matters is that I support his right to peacefully protest as he chooses. This isn’t the world that we live in today.
If you log on to social media, you’ll see nothing but bitter, angry rhetoric when it comes to the perceived injustice at the hands of police departments across the country. When someone attempts to offer a calm and reasoned response to someone who supports the protests, they are shouted down and told that they are racist. This is what Whitlock was talking about. And, as I’m sure Whitlock expected, he too was shouted down and accused of having a bigoted opinion.
Whitlock was correct when he said that the world of social media isn’t the real world. It doesn’t matter if the rhetoric is considered to be right or left, conservative or progressive, republican or democrat. When these viewpoints are being shouted out on social media, they are not indicative of the real world. In the real world, all sides of a topic are more likely to be heard. On social media, the mob rules the conversation and freedom of speech is suppressed. Simply put, social media is a platform with carefully crafted rhetoric that is geared towards creating an exaggerated response.
Please, I beg all of us to stop living our lives based on memes and 140 character statements. It’s not real. Like Whitlock said, we should be living our lives based on real life interactions.
This is a topic that I have thought long and hard about. I realized a long time ago that social media is not reflective of the real world. I’d go a step further and say that the violent protests are not reflective of the real world because the participants in the violent protests do not make up the majority of the dissenters. These violent protest participants are the equivalent of a Twitter bot coming to life. And they are potentially well-paid Twitter bots.
We all need to be smarter, every single one of us.
If social media was reflective of the real world, I wouldn’t be able to go to most of the places that I go without seeing looting and rioting. The truth of the matter is that we do live in a world where we all peacefully interact with each other. You’d never know it based on how society is portrayed on social media.
Everyone needs to calm down, take a deep breath and live their lives. Not only that, we need to let others live their lives provided that it’s peaceful and doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. There is room in this world for all of us and the state of the country is not nearly as dire as either side of the argument wants to negatively portray it to be. You’d never know it if you spent even a few minutes on social media.
Be safe. Be a decent person. And most of all, get off of social media and actually live life. It’s not so bad out there. Really, it isn’t.
E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.