Social media enables individuals across the world to exchange all sorts of media in real time. As people have began to connect in ways never thought possible, social media has shown us the evil throughout the world as well. Just as easy as watching an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”, you could be watching a video of a terrorist group beheading a prisoner. Just as easy as using Facebook to reconnect with an old friend, another could use it to verbally abuse and bully someone.
The Islamic State recently released a video to the Japanese government demanding $200 million for the lives of two citizens. The video was accessible on demand by the entire world instantly to anyone with a smart phone.
The real power here lies with the ease of distribution. The innovations in digital technology has given any average joe the ability to convert any media to any other format and distribute it world-wide. These relatively recent advances have acted as a positive resource to millions of up-and-coming singers and writers. Digital technology is eliminating the middle man. You don’t need a record company or a professional studio to release good music. You don’t need a publishing company to publish a book anymore.
When reflecting on the impact this has on the world, think about the singing YouTube sensations who don’t have access to professional contacts or a microphone; think about the student who wants to be a writer who releases short stories on her private blog, but also think about Charlie Hebdo. Social media and the advances in digital technology played a prominent role in a variety of terrorist attacks and other wrong doings by making the acts seen and felt around the world. When reflecting on the impact this has on the world, it’s important to keep in mind the magnitude. We, as humans, now have the power to show whatever we want to the rest of the world instantaneously. Although the term “social media” even has a friendly ring to it, remember that “the gatekeepers are equally opportunistic to those seeking to do evil or good.”