The Strange, Strange World of Social Media
It is potently powerful and severely limited at the same time. Facebook, blogs, Twitter—I vacillate between diving in to immerse myself in the mediums of the day and swearing off it all for good to embrace my romanticized notions of former simplicity.
Last week was a perfect example. I was awestruck by the exchange of dialogue, by how fast an audience can build, by the ability to communicate across great spans of geography. Yet I am frustrated by the limitations of such impersonal modes of communication, and how that limits your voice, how it sets you up to be misunderstood and misused.
On the topic of feminism specifically, I feel grateful for the opportunity to give voice to my experience and perspective, and I feel astounded, truly astounded by how well it was received. I feel likewise aggravated how impersonal dialogue via the Internet can be, and how that entices us to make assumptions about one another we would never make if we were speaking face to face.
As exhilarating as last week was, I find myself wanting to forget about it now, to create distance from the whole affair. I am too conflicted on the inside about whether these online conversations are worthwhile or whether they foster sharper divisions. Are we coming to understand one another better or are we digging our own trenches deeper?
I want to model healthy civil discourse—is this possible in social media?
What do you think? Have you experienced constructive conversation online or does it seem more like a hamster wheel that takes you nowhere? Which do you see more often— people transforming or people solidifying a stalemate?