With the elections looming large, there is simply too much politicking today. This has trickled down to involve every single thing that occurs now.
The catalyst for this phenomenon is social media, which has enabled anyone with a smart phone to scan the news and pass instant judgment on current issues.
However, social media has a Jekyll and Hyde personality. If you are constantly aware and use it consciously, you are safe. Overstep the boundaries and you pay dearly.
Apparently today you must take a side, otherwise how are we know which team you are playing for? The diplomatic art of agreeing to disagree is dead in today’s sociopolitical climate.
Today complicated issues can be summarized by a short phrase. A radical idea can be propagated by a rallying call. Truth be told, how many of those who willingly respond understand the overall facts of what they’re fighting about?
Very few decisions are a straightforward black or white. Is there room for an individual who questions your motives, and asks for depth in debate? Is there room for truly making an effort to understand the other’s point of view and then search for common ground? Or do we simply respond according to our emotions?
It is quite the norm for both sides to have made up their minds on the matter and neither to be interested in listening to the other’s view.
Unverified facts, badly chosen words and phrases were a pitfall in the infancy of social media even back in the early days when there was only blogging; but now with the mushrooming of online portals, Youtube and micro blogging sites like facebook, twitter, Whatsapp and Viber, the resultant chorus of condemnation is unprecedentedly savage.
Digital media literacy is not simply the ability to own a smart phone and post comments. It is also about being able to discern what not to post.
Clearly, there is also manipulation of social media channels to form public opinion. Whilst Malaysians are quick in assuming that there are always hidden hands in every picture, we are also quick to judge on issues.
Have we had all the complete facts of the case to mull over and evaluate before commenting and judging?
The Spanker says:
I personally believe that a democracy should allow vigorous debate. The debate we want is the voice of reason, not the strident arguments that reverberate with dissent for the sake of automatically dissenting with your opponent or automatically agreeing to everything “your” side says.