The power of the Web in the palm of your hands: Boon or bane?

(Please excuse me for such a blatant deviation from this blog site’s concept, however I feel the need to share my views on the power that has been virtually gripping almost each of us every single day and hope that somehow it will make a difference for you today.)

Back in my college days, I created a public speaking piece on the power we have over the media (i.e. television, radio, print and Internet or what are collectively now called as the traditional media) and how to use that power to minimize, if not eradicate, the spread of this technological wildfire – of which I mean is to control and regulate the wealth of information and misinformation that the media use to shape our thoughts and ultimately our attitudes towards our daily undertakings in life. For these mainstream (traditional) media, we are able to understand and apply the age-appropriate classifications put in place by our media regulatory body. The bottom line of the speech was, “the media have the power to shape our minds, but we have the power to switch it off.”

That was only over a decade ago. Come the dawn of the Generation Z – complemented with the arrival of social media, smart phones, iPads and tablets, without which one would feel technologically impaired and left out.

My two-year-old nephew has not known a world where waiting and patience exist, where Sesame Street airs at 10am and Teletubbies at 10:30am. He was brought up with a tablet in his arm – what he fondly calls “green baba”, which he swipes up and down, left and right with ease to find an entertaining Youtube nursery rhyme video. He gets his own entertainment when he wants it. A popup ad or a slow buffer irritates him easily.

One of my teenage nephews confessed to me that he “accidentally” watched in full the 50 Shades of Grey via Facebook. Whoah. I don’t understand why somebody had the guts to upload such a sexually explicit film in the world’s most used social network.

Again on Facebook, a thousand-like post of Miley Cyrus’ nude photos where her private parts were painted in vibrant colors. However the fans defend it as a “creative work of art”, it is still utter pornography. The first batch of my nephews and niece is sadly a Hannah Montana fan group. I am sure there are thousands of kids their age out there who are as well. I just hope that they are now discerning enough to distinguish the innocent and charming Hannah from the liberated and psychedelic Miley and not carry on their fondness with what the girl has become.

Months ago, I came across a movie based on real life about how a bored middle-aged family man disguised himself as a young soldier to woo a teenage girl online. Ultimately their complicated “love story” willfully ended an innocent life. Although murder was charged against the convict, sadly there is no cyber crime law in place to punish the instigator of the crime (who never did the actual felony).

All these sadly point out to one thing: evil has long taken a new form – something that is virtually and massively destructive; something that slyly inhabits beyond traditional media regulations – something that is far worse than that wildfire we used to know.

This phenomenal technological advancement is not a bad thing per se, don’t get me wrong. As you notice how I related my stories above, it is not the technology that presents the problem, it is the behavior of users that is uncontrollable. It seems we have mistaken the main function of social media. The edge of this over the traditional one is that anyone, practically anyone who wants his thoughts and opinions to be heard is many times over seen and heard interact with fellow social media users via the Web, unlike the one-way traditional media where only media professionals such as journalists, writers, broadcasters and the like are authorized to present information. Sadly, most users are trigger-happy. Not a care or thought is given before they post something.

Like me, you would not want your young ones to be corrupted by irresponsible social posts. You would not want your beloved to shatter families and your own. You would not want to be misled by apparently wrong information.

With such an unprecedentedly massive social trend of inappropriate posting that is wrecking homes and corrupting innocence as we speak, there is still definitely we can do. Here is the logic we need to remember though: we can never fight the rushing waves. If so, it means only one thing – go with it. Move forward with technology. Social media was not created to injure. Then use it to help – and you can begin with helping yourself.

Why not start fresh with finding good sites to read and share? Why not use the social networks to inspire and not to spread pornography or other nonsensical thoughts just for the sake of posting? Why not start to be an advocate of responsible social media handling in your own right?

I have here top three of my favorite social media sites which you may want to visit and have a look through. They provide healthful information, which most of them I reckon to be new to you:

controversyextraordinary.com  – a brazen exposé of plainly ridiculous doctrines mostly of Roman Catholicism and atheism. The site has 8k followers and counting and has garnered a whopping 1.6 million page views to date. True to the site’s name, Controversy Extraordinary is a Bible-based blog and definitely open for a healthy discussion.

Daniel Razon Facebook page – Mr. Public Service and veteran broadcast journalist Kuya Daniel Razon is someone we can look up to. With more than 150k page likes, Kuya Daniel’s Facebook page offers fresh inspirational quotes on everything under the sun, and they definitely make my day.

Eliseo Soriano Facebook page – Thanks God for Bro. Eli! Being like-minded with the rest of over 185k followers, I cannot find any preacher this devoted, this sincere, this boldly honest in spreading Biblical doctrines applicable in our daily lives. Bro. Eli’s Facebook page also features Twitter Tab, through which one can click and tweet directly without the hassle of opening a separate Twitter page.

I believe there are a lot more out there in the social space. It is a huge city of virtual human interactions. Explore it and find the sites you deem good and helpful. You will definitely find a handful.

Over a decade ago I inspired my audience with this thought to ponder: “we do have the power to switch the media off.” Now it is quite different: we do have the power to become better social influencers. And we can start to be one today.

 

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