Scott Murray
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Observing news reports describing how recent events have “called into question” the assumption that social media was going to be a clear force for good.

Ummmmm was that really the general assumption this whole time in the wider culture? In my little bubble everyone believes that it has some upsides (connections, if superficially), huge downsides (addiction, bullying, privacy, manipulation), and heaps of unknowns still TBD.

I mean, I wouldn’t be working on vis.social if I didn't think there were any benefits to social media (or potential ones), but let’s be honest — this is all very new to humanity and we are figuring it out as we go. Please no foregone conclusions and forecasts predicting that any new thing will only be a “force for good” or otherwise.

@scott it would be interesting to see a long term sentiment analysis on social networking in general. I imagine that it overall correlates with the various large news stories that have come out about abuse.

There's probably also interesting generational based attitudes that are different. Perhaps older people didn't understand it, so assumed it was a good change more?

@scott I did some grad school work in the Dept. of Geography, and one clever thing a Prof. said was when ever we change how we travel or communicate, the whole world changes.

Granted, telegraph, FAX Machine, and eMail aren't that different, but social media is. It's a transportation and communication revolution. Distance = 0 here, and before I mainly met people cultured in the same environment as me, now I meet people routinely that had it very different than me. A new melting pot if you will.

@WNYmathGuy great perspective. Hopefully that is an upside of online life!

@scott Yeah, it's bizarre, isn't it? It was clear that it was going to be a huge force for advertising revenue and social manipulation and maybe you'd get to chat with people and make some friends? There was a huge sell on it being "good", that much is clear, but it always reeked of being a sell.

@c25l 🤣 I love that. Indeed, maybe you'd get to chat with some people (but that's incidental). 🙃

@scott How much of this is just that the journalists writing the news reports either (1) actually believe this or (2) are rhetorically positing the existence of some people somewhere who believed this and who are now reconsidering? In any case, a great point to keep in mind!

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