Someone once told me, “if you don’t like what somebody tweets… just don’t follow them!”
It seems to me the reason social media is so overwhelming is not because the platform is complicated, but us as humans have never been introduced to such an exponential form of information. All of a sudden, we are swarmed by movements and fads and styles and people that we would otherwise never come in contact with. Yes, this can be overwhelming, but I am sure the surge of automobiles and airplanes was quite overwhelming to some as well. The truth is, microblogging and social media give humans a beautiful and vast range of possibility. Life with color, so to speak.
In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody about the power of social media, he mentions that “the enormous visibility and search-ability of social life means that the ability for the like-minded to locate one another, and to assemble and cooperate with one another, now exists independently of social approval or disapproval”
The truth to be understood about microblogging is that YOU are in control. It is like having a pimped out SUV with all the bells and whistles. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it or let it get in the way of you driving your car. You choose who to follow, what to follow, your friends, and your networks. The best part about it is it allows you to free yourself. You can now join groups without the fear of being judged. You can communicate your personality at the speed of a tweet rather than under the pressure of an audience.
I think what Shirky is trying to say is there is no physical structure restricting one’s access to the world. Money, power, status. None of these are being measured as much as the shnazzyness of your facebook page nowadays. That in essence is a very beautiful thing. People are being judged by whats inside of them rather than their exterior. This is allowing people with similarities to join together and use a powerful technological interface to communicate efficiently and form strong, powerful networks.
When it comes to issues with public health, nothing is more important than communication. Many public health dilemmas involve informing the public. Raising awareness. Inspiring people towards a cause. With the tools of micro blogging, you have instant access to your community. The best part is, you don’t have to barrage them with information. Just quick snippets here and there that are meaningful, and you can end up getting tens of thousands of retweets. That is tens of thousands of people you have informed of your health issue. Now as overwhelming and cluttered as this stuff may be, that is a resource that is hard to turn down. Just like most things in life, you have to learn to take the good with the bad, and this form of communication can certainly bring some beautiful color to the world.
And that is just it. You can blame many of the problems we have in this world on miscommunication. The truth is that microblogging opens up lines of communication throughout the world. It may be difficult to get used to, but nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Give it a try and see how colorful your life can become.