For many of us, social media plays various roles in our lives. A platform to exchange information and ideas, social media allows to communicate for better or worse.
Instagram is for show-off pictures or advice memes. TikTok initially was to be for kids who want to post their latest scores in their favourite video game or complain about school but it has turned into a replacement for generally self indulgent and vain adults wanting to take potshots at anyone they don’t like, especially spurned ex’s. Some dance provocatively or lip synch to the same cheesy songs or equally cheesy movie/TV one-liners in order to attract people they will never meet. In other words, a dating app without the actual dating in order to fill an always empty void in the presenters’ and viewers’ vast/equally hollow egos.
Think living M.C. Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This” without the scurry dancing.
Remember the good ol’ days when people would complain that Facebook was bad because it provoked jealousy and inadequacy. A family member or friend who we haven’t seen or talked to in two months has a new vehicle/new significant other/been on a great vacation/their Grade 2 son knows four languages and can clearly convey the Theory of Relativity.
However, nothing touches Twitter when it comes to the emotional toll it takes on anyone who is pushed to the brink emotionally.
Twitter at best challenges us intellectually with new ideas, but can be also the complete opposite making a SpongeBob movie seem intellectually stimulating. Entertaining, provocative but often not healthy for us mentally, especially those who are at low ebb of positive feelings.
Sure there are people who post funny videos; some sweet, tearjerking videos but Twitter is where people really release their angst and frustration.
Twitter draws you in and you watch like an interest spectator and before you know it, you’re in 90 minutes to two hours deep. How dangerous could twitter be? It has a cute blue bird as its symbol and you are sending out “tweets,” like a sweet, cute birdie, not screeching like a hawk or vulture.
If it isn’t keyboard warriors, offering opinions and presenting them as facts or offering various doomsday scenarios, it is shocking videos from around the world.
Before Twitter police effectively monitored the gargantuan social media site, videos of kidnapped prisoners being killed by their terrorist captors. Who needs to watch horror movies when you have Twitter?
Polls from Angus Reid or Ipsos for example “Majority (56%) of Canadians Say COVID-19 Having a Negative Impact on their Mental Health” shows Canadians are not feeling good about life in general. We are all battling to stay positive but Twitterverse is the proverbial stage for venting… levels varying from mild or vicious.
What happens is that factual stories are either tweaked, misinterpreted in order to justify a point of view. Legitamaize a slant by using someone else’s words.
One just has to look at the last couple of weeks. There’s always the usual array of anti-Justin Trudeau and anti-Donald Trump posts which bring up some sketchy policies or past personal incidents. These make you wonder how they were ever elected, sprinkled with a good dose of intellectual name-calling; abbreviations and profanity to prove the opinions’ worth. SMH.
Take for example a Singapore newspaper’s story and video of a remote controlled and heavily motion-censored robot called Spot in which patrols Singapore parks there for the government reminding people using a recorded message about social distancing.
If you see this yellow bodied, black-legged robot, it is like in a creepy science fiction movie, only, it isn’t fiction. Creates the feeling of big brother watching although the government says people aren’t identifiable in the camera.
Or how about the ungodly-sized killer hornets? How about the photos of those beach scenes in the United States or even B.C. where their massive crowds which would make any medical personnel shudder of what it could mean? How about Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow expressing concern about a rally encouraging the 385,000 members of the group Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine. “We haven’t had any bloodshed yet but the populous is counting to three and the other day was two. Next comes water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.”
They all seem horrifying but what is the truth behind them and what does it mean?
Twitter seems to have developed more of a culture, tradition or reputation of selectively shine the spotlight on the most extreme and the most shocking of news stories, far mores than Facebook. Where facebook has it’s share of news, fake or otherwise; it seems like Twitterverse users chomp up little bits of the world’s tragedies and negative stories like someone in a movie theatre endlessly stuffing their faces full of popcorn.
Why? Because people have an agenda, whether to advertise and push along their point of view… like political tennis, those on the left and right lob disguised bullying shots back and forth.
Twitter is as fluid as COVID-19 developments across the prairies, Canada or the world. These sound bites move so fast one they tend to blend in. In order for said opinion to stand out, the latest Tweet has to be more shocking than the last.
Even supposedly good things are bad and have an agenda. Wine ninjas which is a nice idea has security issues. Twitterverse seems to revel in the fact it is bad.
How about Trudeau speaking to children during his daily podium address Canadians? Those who love Trudeau think he is so kind to try and reach out to children who have been asked to change their lives because of the pandemic.
Even innocent debates on sports “what if’s” or “who’s the best …” in turn into name calling.
Prairie Post has two Twitter accounts where we send out tweets linking our stories from our website or perhaps Swift Current reporter Matthew Liebenberg is sending out a tweet with photos from a recently occurred event. Report, inform, illicit debate sure, but hopefully nothing touches the machine gun rapid fire of twitter.
Twitter seems to be an arena to show our deepest angst in . If you are feeling down, anxious, frustrated, combative, of you have difficulty filtering out the blackness, stay away please. It’s kinda ugly out here with no change in sight.
Ryan Dahlman is the managing editor of Prairie Post East and Prairie Post West