Social media is quite a powerful tool. It is powerful in the sense that we ourselves create a discourse that is moulded to reflect our own mentalities. We choose who we follow, we like what we like and coding and whatnot ensures that our feeds remain consistent with our interests, and by extension, our perceptions. Here in lies the appeal of social media; it is a virtual reflection of our own minds. We craft our opinions and build off others. We’re empowered to report those whose views don’t align with ours. It is quite liberating, less ideological constricting. Yet, there is a danger in doing so. We close ourselves off, become narrow-minded as one paradigm consumes us. We turn a blind-eye to what doesn’t agree with us or interest us and this isolates us from the world.
This contributes further to the idea of censorship. However, rather than being imposed by an overarching authority or sovereign figure, it’s a form of censorship we inflict on ourselves. We unconsciously cultivate our own select type of bias that favours our interests and disregards what we deem to be irrelevant. We in turn become passive consumers of what we have crafted for ourselves, only critically thinking if it furthers an agenda or perspective we’re well-versed on.
Social media also has it’s own form of censorship which manifests itself through restrictions. The most contentious form being a recent addition to YouTube which sees restrictions imposed on LGBTQ+ content. In the age-restrictions mode, videos associated with words such as ‘gay’ and ‘sex’ will be flagged as inappropriate. This ultimately takes a step back culturally from the progress made on inclusivity.
Additionally, there is an added anxiety to the security measures of social media. Privacy becomes flimsy due to accessibility and this in turn makes social media unreliable as a media source.We fear Russian hackers obtaining our bank information, or exposing us for the slander we spread behind the backs of our ‘friends’.
The anxiety surrounding social media appears to be growing exponentially as we move forth into a more digitalised world. Majority of this fear stems from the unknown. Technical jargon and whatnot isolates us from those well-versed in this discourse. We become unaware of how we are protected, or whether we are even protected at all. How far can we immerse ourselves in the digital world before we truly lose ourselves?