Social Media: The Way Forward

Social media is a 21st century technological phenomenon that has taken the world by a storm. It refers to a computer and internet-based technology that facilitates communication in several fields of endeavor through virtual networks and communities. It affords users fast electronic communication of content that includes personal information, documents, images like photos and videos.

Users of social media engage the uses of computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. Globally, according to, more than 4.5 billion people in October 2021 used social media and the number keeps increasing. There is a number of social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Social media is largely used in the United States, Europe, and Asia, but the rest of the world is catching up. When it started communication, experts dubbed it the “new journalism.”

Vice President Al Gore of the United States had already christened the internet “information superhighway.” But social media assumed a pace never before experienced in communication. Our concern in this editorial is the invasive and intrusive nature of social media that is menacing our various freedoms and limiting our choices.

Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran in the 1970s is on record as adopting tape recorded messages in disseminating information for the success of the revolution in Iran that deposed the Shah. It took some time for that advent of the cell phone, but its arrival has revolutionized social media becoming handy, valuable communication tool globally.  Social media is used to share, create and spread information. Modern society has been impacted in several ways, positive and negative.

If used diligently and intelligently, social media can spawn success since it is the best form of direct contact with target audience. It allows for free expression and affords the chance to gain a vital voice  for issues that are essential to discuss and have fruitful discussion. Differences in opinion expressed freely and the sharing of ideas with like-minded users allows for exposure. In fact, it even allows for clearer presentation devoid of technical problems as sometimes found other modes of information dissemination such as in fax.

In business and commerce social media has made interesting and valuable impact. It allows businesses to market their products and services to a broad audience, while allowing businesses to retain a following and test new markets. Social media sites as LinkedIn provides recruitment opportunities. Facebook and Instagram also promote marketing of products and services that facilitate faster and easier access for job seekers.

Politically, social media is equally impactful. Former president Barack Obama raised several millions of dollars for campaign funds through social media. Not only that: he was able to reach a large number of Americans, winning a big victory against former Senator John McCain, and the United States elected its first African American president for the first time in history.   Social media can be persuasive, just like meeting acquaintances and getting too close and credible.

Yet it has its shortfalls. But one cannot blame social media for it, for the technology is far from blame. Human failures and foibles are, of course brought to social media, and are the challenges of new ways of information dissemination.  

There are, of course, many challenges in social media, and in most cases, they comprise the temptations and faults of users. Fake news, for instance, is not a recent phenomenon, but it came to assume notoriety during the Trump presidency and in social media. The nature of the internet allows for anonymity that is exploited by users of social media. Fake news is misinformation, and it induces cynicism and reduces assurance in authority and allegiance. And trust in the political system falls askance. Persons in authority have fallen victim to libel, and scandals are offered space in the media.

Amandla fully endorses social media as free expression of individual and group views. We are, as other users, disturbed by the abuse social media is subjected to. Do we endorse regulation and by who? Social media companies or governments? Tweeter suspended President Trump’s account and received quite some flak. Facebook and other social media sites have done same removing accounts based on abuses.

We presume that the sanctions against social media users are applied in good faith and should continue but our concern borders on other motives by the companies. Issues on racism, and others that affect and affront cultures and traditions must be critically examined to avoid unnecessary victimization of users and victims alike. The way forward, we propose, is for users and social media companies to use technology to police themselves.

With global instability as a result of the Russo-Ukraine war, and China not letting up on Taiwan, while the rest of the world is left in economic doldrums, what is left is for social media to torch the fuse. But is social media the bad guy here?

Posted by on Aug 26 2022. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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