The prevalence of fake news and hate speech that became apparent in the run-up to the election has generated serious problems for social media. Facebook has received the most attention for this problem. It was not so much the problem of the fake news itself as it was the mindless reposting of this content by those who thought they had found a statement or story that captured their own position. The solutions to these issues will not be easy and are likely not possible as long as we endorse free speech. I do feel each individual has the right to express his or her position. I believe much of the problem occurs because of the convenient reposting of positions easily attributed to “others”. Remember the convenient references to what “others” are saying made by at least one candidate during the election.
Those of us who promote social media activity as a learning activity promote personal public statements for several reasons. Generating content yourself requires that you give some thought to your message and thought provides an opportunity for issue analysis and learning. Generating content requires effort and is a sign of commitment. How strongly do you endorse a position you are unwilling to spend a few minutes explaining? Generating content also takes time and offers the opportunity to consider whether you really want to say what you intend to say.
Social media can serve many purposes. Reposting recipes is great. Social media offers a perfect way to share pictures and messages with family. However, Facebook also offers the opportunity for serious discussion. Facebook allows longer statements with an easy mechanism for follow-up and interaction. Take advantage of these opportunities to offer your own insights and evidence.