Social Media – Blessing or Curse?

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In the last two decades our world has drastically changed. We have platforms to express our views, not only to our local communities, but to the world as a global community. Even the term global community indicates how much our world has changed.

As a holistic healer, I use Facebook as one medium to advertise my business and the workshops that I run. This can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I can reach a much greater amount of people in my local area and make them aware of what services I offer, a curse because of the nature of Facebook (and other social media platforms). Meaning that anyone can comment, even those who not only do not agree with your healing modality but feel a need to berate you for what you are offering, by posting derogatory messages. One such occurrence this week has made me wonder about whether our society’s dependence on social media is really such a good idea.

Where once our opinions were shared personally, with friends, colleagues and acquaintances, now we can comment on any posting, share any video or photo with the potential for it to go viral and be seen by thousands, if not millions of people. Now more than ever we need to be aware of how much power our words hold.

Cyber bullying did not exist before the advent of social media and cell phones. When we tear down another person and ridicule them, and our derogatory actions are copied by others, we can do untold damage to that person. Take a moment and think of how many times, someone just stating their opinion in a comment to a posting, has been ridiculed for doing that, and the first person’s cruel comments, almost act as a license for others to join in.

Not agreeing with another’s opinion doesn’t call for one to be cruel or harsh. The purpose of social media is to allow interaction between people that are separated from each other geographically and to give everyone a voice. Having said that we must always remember to keep a healthy balance. Phones, tablets and laptops should not replace social interaction, it is much more important to be present in the moment than to take a photo of it to share on your Instagram… I find it unutterably sad to see a family out for Sunday lunch, yet instead of speaking to each other, everyone is fiddling with their phones.

Albert Einstein said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Sadly that day is here…

Privacy has become virtually extinct, nearly every cell phone and tablet application that you purchase and install wants to access your personal information. Applications are linked and one will access information from another to setup our preferences, all in the name of convenience. This lack of privacy and more importantly the fact that all of your personal information can be accessed from the various programs and games that you install and use, is in my opinion the greatest curse.

My conclusion is that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It serves to remind us to watch our words. My Mom always told us, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It really is time that we started seeing ourselves as part of a global community, one in which we choose our words carefully and if we can’t be kind, at least not do any damage.

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