The new skill to master:
Learning NOT to respond to people who don’t deserve a platform.
Everyone talks about “fake news” – specifically trying to figure out what is legitimate and what isn’t. Another way to fight the possibility of misinformation is to just STOP responding to all of it in a knee jerk way. ALL. THE. TIME. Take a breath. Think. Verify. React, if need be.
Here’s the new skill you have to master: Just because you’ve read something outrageous on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else doesn’t mean you HAVE to respond to it. Maybe the new norm should be: if it sounds outrageous, makes your blood boil, or causes you to gasp, then you need to just assume it’s written to make you feel all those feelings and it should be considered an AUTO BOT until otherwise verified.
Another skill to develop is to do what reporters have done in the past: find three different legit sources before taking anything seriously and worthy of your precious time. Whenever I read something on social media, I look for three other sources to validate that information. And friends or other “friends of friends” don’t count as LEGIT sources! Even your smartest and best friends fall into this trap – especially those who tend to get all their news from Facebook. They never question what they read because it’s streaming on their newsfeed. Wow!
Find three legit sources that you KNOW are reputable. Whether it be print or television or online – but find three good SOLID sources who have a track record and bookmark them on your devices. That way, anytime you hear something stunning, you can check easily if this story has surfaced through legit sources. And “FACEBOOK” and “TWITTER” cannot BE your sources! These are platforms that deliver all types of information – ANY INFORMATION – they are NOT NEWS SOURCES!! Please understand the difference.
Stop wasting your time. Social media is a part of our lives. And it’s an incredible medium that provides such good and wonderful possibilities. But understanding what to react too, what to be bothered with, and how to use your time wisely, is another skill that we just have to learn. It’s a tough thing for sure – it’s hard to walk away from a headline or tweet that burns through your very core – but once you stop the knee jerk reaction to responding to everything – it gets easier to notice the obvious BOTS and nonsense stories.
And that’s another thing: this knee jerk reaction to everything needs to stop. When did everyone become so sensitive? When did everything become so damn important? And seriously, when did everyone become an expert at everything? We need to stop reacting emotionally to every story or thought and stop thinking we need to share it in 140 characters or less – not only is it a waste of our time, but 9 times out of 10, it’s also just not our place. I hate to be so cliché, but yes, everyone has an opinion and opinions are like assholes… or something like that. Simply, you can have an opinion, but sometimes its appropriate to keep it to yourself!
Let’s stop feeding into the very thing that is making the internet a very dangerous medium. Instead, let’s start teaching ourselves and our children to investigate, scrutinize, and develop critical thinking skills to use this amazing vehicle in the best way possible.
Let’s stop giving STUPID a platform.