Friday, 08 July 2016 21:13

Social Media Overkill

Social media overkill

It has certainly been a busy time for our minds and for social media platforms. The heat, the fires, Brexit... Being a social media junkie myself, I followed it all - with obviously quite a bit of emotion, because there really was, and still is, a lot at stake for so many. But at one point I started feeling it was all getting too much.

I felt confused, baffled by the waves of anger and ignorance, thankfully interspersed with pearls of wisdom and well-founded questions. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, or possibly even dangerous? But it felt like Facebook, my preferred platform, had turned into one big tabloid paper where ‘anything goes’.

Suddenly everyone was first a meteorologist, then an ecologist, a photographer, and finally an economist and UK specialist... People probably mean well and the phenomenon of things getting political, passionate, and often unreasonable on Facebook is not new, but somehow it was more tangible with the recent events.

And it all seemed so short lived. Does that make it insincere? Is this what it’s meant for? I don’t know.  The complaints about the heat? Lasted for a day even though the heat prevailed. The sadness over lost lives, destroyed flora and fauna: One day. The outcry over the Brexit debacle: One day. 

In my confusion I turned to Google to find out more about voicing (political) opinions on social media. One article said that on Instagram, a platform where images are posted and labelled with  hashtags which are then used as search tools to find content and engage in conversations, users talking about the EU referendum seemed extremely polarised. It said that few showed an openness to both sides of the debate and consistently posted one-sided political messages.

And my suspicion was confirmed “It has become all too easy for voters to edit out anything that doesn’t chime with their own views. There is evidence to suggest that such echo chambers can be dysfunctional for democracy. We don’t get the full picture inside our bubble, because it often only contains like-minded peoples,” according to Vyacheslav W. Polonski, Network scientist, University of Oxford. 

True, Facebook did contain debates of sorts, but I finally stayed out of it altogether and even stopped reading, because it was all becoming too time-consuming and dare I say... irrelevant. But now I’m also a bit scared of it, I’ve seen sides of people that I did not expect. I guess it’s best to take it all not too seriously despite the seriousness of the matter.

I obviously still love Facebook and will continue my ‘mission’ of sharing positive things and my photography and... I’ll continue ‘staying out of it’.


Article as published in the Cyprus Weekly of July 1st 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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