Monday, March 06, 2017

Social Media Networks

Faith Chatham March 6, 2017

This year Americans have shifted into a higher octane of informative activism. Utilizion of social media links persons with shared values and concerns who are geographically spread too far away to meet face-to-face. Once we have been in social media networks, encountering each other in person is a real treat.

In past election cycles, I blogged heavily. Now I have little time for blogging but utilizion of social media networks continues to enable me to reach out effectively through sharing articles and videos which inform, inspire, teach or commment.

Sharing a few articles or posts by others on Twitter sometimes generates over a thousand reactions from followers and numerous retweets by followers who have several thousand followers in their networks. On Facebook when we accept friends selectively, buildng networks close to the 5000 FB limit, a few minutes posting, sharing or commenting (reacting) to substantive posts by others can generate responses from thousands of other users in a few minutes.

Our news feeds alert us to articles and events we might otherwise miss. We are able to share constructive informative articles from many valid reputable sources. We need to be discerning and try to share only reputable sources. Usually, when something that is flimsy slips through others in the network will comment and let us know. Thanks to my nearly 5000 progressive friends on Facebook, I am more informed and receive information more quickly than any time in my life. For years I subscribed and consumed 5 newspapers daily and a stack of magazines. Now I get most of my news digitally and feel that I am better informed.

Facebook also allows people with shared interest /values to group virtually in private or in public. The ablility to set privacy settings and establish group guidelines enables organizing for groups. It also helps gruup moderators exclude trolls.

Sharing links on Twitter and utilizing the @ or # options enables us to alert others instantly and attach link to stories, articles, videos or photographs. Sharing one post to a group of a few hundred followers may reach out to thousands of their followers and then on to thousands of their followers followers. When we share content which informs and appeals to others, frequently we gain followers with little effort. People seem to be as attracted to the quality of the content on a person's newsfeed as they are to our actually original tweets or posts. Most of my friends this year use their facebook wall for activism. Do we like most of what we read? Absolutely not! However, we learn what is going on so that we can resist more effectively. We learn more so that when we write or speak or communicate we have the background necessary to speak intelligently. We are able to learn more so that when we are assaulted with lies across the back fence or by neighbors or relatives, we can refute the lies and correct those who are innocently mistaken.

Our nation was founded on the premise of participation by an informed citzentry. As we grew in population, that person on person knowledge diminished. Through social media networks of dedicated Americans linking together to learn, share, understand, and resist, we are again getting closer to the premise our founding fathers assumed would exist before people voted or served in elective office. This year for the first time in decades many Americans are showing up and holding elected officials accountable.

Net Neutrality is on the chopping block by Congress. We need to invest in the infrastructure of the internet. The World Wide Web is not a new technology and the number of users has escalated. Finding a way to finance necessary infrastructure upgrades is important without creating faster tracks for specific interest at the expense of other users.

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