Saturday, 30 June 2012

Is social media’s age of innocence over? Is the magic kingdom of social media at risk?

Lately I’ve been wondering to what extent social media has lost its free spirit and soul.

Remember the early days when we all shared our uncensored thoughts on twitter, when we could blog from our heart and show our passion about a topic; the wonderful days when it was safe to be controversial.

With time something has changed and it seem as if we’ve forgotten that social media is about conversations and about giving voice to people.

What is ironic, is that while we praise social media’s power and reach when it topples regimes which are not to our liking we do not do the same when it comes to accepting controversy and listening to opinions which may be different from ours.

Is the age of spontaneity of social media over? Is social media leaving its childhood and entering its adulthood – the age of restrained reasoning?

Are we inadvertently putting a leash on this global megaphone by restraining ourselves to share our personal views, aspirations, frustrations, dreams and ideas in fear of retaliation?

Are we inadvertently transforming the very tool that gave a voice to the voiceless to a lame mainstream mouthpiece?

Have we deliberately blurred the boundaries of private and public to safeguard the interest of the big boys and girls?

I do not know. What I do know is that there is definitely less controversial, thought provoking and innovative ideas floating around social media channels.

What we are seeing is corporations usurping social media channels to push out their products and their messages. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong in them doing so, provided they are willing to engage in a conversation both with those share and do not share their same ideas, convictions, aspirations and ideologies.

For me the beginning of the end was two years ago when  Octavia Nasr was asked to leave CNN after expressing her personal opinion in a tweet.

Are we – the social media junkies of this world – going to let the rest of the world put a muzzle on us? Can we join forces and commit that we’ll continue to express our ideas freely and respectfully? Can we go back to the early days of social media, the days when we were all spontaneous, the days when we did not worry about social media guidelines and good practices?

Why are we accepting to restrict and restrain ourselves? Social media is our tool. We built our communities around it and with it….. If we do something wrong, the community will let us know. We are accountable to our community and do not need anyone else to tell us what we can and cannot do. Let’s not allow the bad guys invade our magic kingdom!

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