Beverly B. Media and Communications

Trial by Social Media.


By Beverly B. Media and Communications

There is no arguing the affect social media has had on our lives, our society, and even our politics. President Obama was the first presidential candidates to make social media a large part of his campaign strategy, which in turn attracted that much coveted young vote. The massive out cry of injustice on Twitter brought attention to the scheduled execution of accused cop killer Troy Davis.  Although Davis was still executed on September 21, 2011 in Savannah Georgia, the power of social media was clearly felt. Social media has become the mega phone for those looking to make a difference, but is it slowly becoming judge, jury, and executioner of the unpopular?

During the 1950’s America was in the grip of McCarthyism, a witch hunt to punish all those believed to be communists. Named after Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, hundreds of people were and imprisoned and thousands lost their jobs, some for just being questioned. We have heard of numerous cases of people being branded and losing their jobs because of their posts on Facebook.  But they deserved it because their belief s didn’t match those of popular consent. right? Right?

We are in the fever pitch of the Kony 2012 campaign, a film by Invisible Children about the atrocities committed by war lord Joseph Kony against the children of Uganda. In just 3 days the video has gained so much momentum that it has become the most viral video in history.  Now that everyone is worked up about the problem—a problem that was brought to light back in 2006—can we all agree on a solution or do we need a video to tell us that also?

As a kid I didn’t like to do homework, the warmer it got outside the “less” homework the teacher seemed to assign **wink, wink**. But as I have matured I realize and understand the importance of homework, and while social media has opened up many avenues to obtain and disseminate information I believe doing ones homework is very important.

I am reminded of the quote First They Came a famous statement attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

One should not be easily swayed by what is popular on Facebook or Twitter.  How many celebrities were pronounced dead on the web only to be brought back to life by actual facts?  The masses are not always right.

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