Social media shows us huge diversity, complexity, and disparity in world-views

Social media has become part of so many peoples lives.

Not everybody’s lives despite what those who are on social media seem to think, particular ly corporates and politicos who seem to think it reaches their target audiences.

But it does reach different parts of society. Most notably the young, the unemployed, and those who have otherwise got too much time on their hands, or just too much to say and nobody to say it to.

SM enables us to have conversations in a way previously impossible. I can find myself talking to someone who lives the other side of the world who might be someone completely outside my usual social or work circles of contacts. It exposes us to points of view we haven’t heard or would not otherwise hear.

It can also be an echo chamber as we control who we see and hear and who we do not. For people interested in politics for example, Twitter can become a place to reassure you that you are not the only person in the world with such views as you have, or to confront you with challenging views which conflict with your own.

The choice is ours, I suspect sadly that most people choose the former, feeling more comfortable debating in a world of affirmation.

For me the most startling thing about Twitter is sadly not the joys of a global and open conversation, but that it highlights just what divided tribes we inhabit. There is hardly a tweet popping up in my timeline (apart from the obvious self affirmation from the likeminded) that does not remind me that my attitudes and beliefs are so vastly different from so many other people and that their world-views scare the bejabbers out of me.

I suppose it shows what a rich tapestry of life the human race creates, but most days it just leaves me saying or thinking, sometimes even tweeting – WTF!

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