I read a recent story about how a pair of British students were stopped at the United States border by Homeland Security because of a couple of harmless tweets. We don’t know the full story because there might have been other reasons for the detainment but that’s not really what this post will be about.
What I think it is quite fascinating is the potential of twitter and social media as a whole to effect our future as a country.
We’ve seen quite a number of stories, like this, where someone’s future was effected by social media. A youthful indescretion captured forever on Facebook, a silly statement made in the heat of the moment forever preserved in a tweet, all of these things have an effect. My question is not the effect on the individual but on the society.
One of Ayn Rand‘s constant themes is that those who are exceptional must be allowed to succeed in society for that society to, in turn, succeed itself. Social media seems to be a double edged sword in this regard. People who are bold, daring, speak their mind are weeded out because they offend. On the other hand, the same sort of behavior often catapults people into the spotlight and success.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I think the increased scrutiny on politicians and their personal lives is a negative. It discourages the best and brightest from participating because they don’t want to subject their families and friends to that sort of media pressure. I’m of the opinion, at this moment at least, that the quickness to judge one tweet or one Facebook photo as a weapon to hold back a person is a net negative on society. We lose the bold and we also chill open exchanges of thoughts and ideas.
I don’t think Twitter, Social Media, mainstream media, blogs, or any of the other methods of modern communication are going away and I personal benefit from the ability to publish my own books, post my thoughts, and in other ways interact with the world.
What I would suggest is that we reward those bold enough to state their opinions even if we disagree with them. We want strong, active people in the positions of power in our society. Instead of calling for someone to be fired or step-down from an election, reply with your own ideas, encourage the exchange of thoughts, the dialectic as it were.
Tell me what you think in the comments, subscribe, like, you know what I’m saying!
Sword and sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist