Dangers of ‘unsocial media’

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Social media, we too often discover, is blatantly unsocial and leads to anger and hate.  I’ve received angry private messages on Facebook from church parishioners  who have told me to “go to hell” or say they were sorry they prayed for me when I was recovering from a motorcycle accident in 1012 and 2013.

Others have other issues with me and the way I report the news or express my opinions.  They use Facebook, Twitter and other outlets to express their anger but never, once, try to discuss their concerns with me personally, via email, or on the phone.  That, sadly, has become the norm in today’s “social media” environment.  Face to face conversation appears to be out of fashion.

Online, I’ve been called an “arrogant asshole” (probably true), a “conservative c—sucker” (untrue, on both counts), a “liberal fag” (twice incorrect…again) and worse online.

So much anger out there.  Anger towards and hatred of gays led to the most fatal mass shooting in modern times in Orlando.  Anger and hate drives this year’s election for President.  Anger dominates too many comments on social media.

It is not uncommon to see people sitting together while talking with others via text on their wireless phones.  They don’t speak to each other.

I’ve been messing with this thing called the Internet since the late 80s and early 90s.  By accident, I was one of the staff members of the House of Representatives Committee of Science and Technology that worked on transferring what was then called DARPANet from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to the National Science Foundation to help create the Internet and the World Wide Web.

We hoped the World Wide Web would foster increased communication and understanding,  Someone tagged it as “The Information Superhighway.”  It may, sadly, have become the “The Misinformation Cowpath.”

White supremacists and racists lurk in the World Wide Web and lure those who hate into their midst. The Internet feeds conspiracy theories like discredited doubts of the citizenship of current President Barack Obama or claims that the American government staged the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Those who share the hate, anger and support for questionable conspiracy theories then use links to sources of misinformation, hate and bigotry as citations of “fact” on social media.

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed,” said Adolph Hitler.

The Web it is a place where people we might never meet in person or really know at all become “friends” or enemies.  I’ve had web sites online for 22 years.  I started what is now the oldest political news web site on October 1, 1994.  It still publishes news about politics and government around the clock.

For two decades I have been praised, criticized, supported, opposed, liked, hated and called just about every name one can imagine — or in some cases.

I have strong opinions and I hope and try to make sure they are based on issues and not personalities.  Some, including folks here in Floyd County, admit openly that they dislike the way I go about what I do and some of them say they hate me.

That is their call.  Hate is a word or feeling that I try to avoid in conversations or actions.  I I write about the actions or opinions of another, I try to do so based on disagreements on issues, not personalities.

Anyone is welcome to their opinions and/or beliefs.  Too often, too many substitute opinion for fact or belief for truth.  That’s my opinion.  I express my opinions in columns and media.  I also try to report facts and truth as a reporter.

Knowing the difference is important.

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