These days, given the overwhelming tsunami of social media, the conventional wisdom of who we are has shifted away from us and onto others, to become "You Are What You Share"...whether you choose to share your feelings about food, clothing, French lawyers/politicians, or the act of sharing itself.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Rob Ford lynching. The Media became the story.
The hunter became the hunted. The investigator became the investigated.And the messenger, was caught, red-handed and left-handed, writing the message.Instead of simply delivering it.
There is no doubt that social media is contributing to great positive changes in our world. But we must not forget or ignore its dark side. Today, we have masses of information that are sent via instant messaging, tweeting, tumblr, YouTube. Speed is a priority, brevity is important. There are social implications that come with this technology. Among other things, we are losing accuracy and time for critical thinking. Tom Flanagan is a recent recipient of information fallout. Look how quickly he was judged and "dropped" by friends and peers. Is this our future: Fear of attacks on social media stifling different voices and difficult but necessary problem-solving?
Social media isn't a replacement for real-world action -- it's a way to coordinate it. The fact that apathetic Internet users who plague our respective newsfeeds cannot click their way to a better tomorrow does not mean that dedicated actors -- those who would be in the trenches regardless -- cannot employ social media effectively.
The Internet not only changes what media we view, but how we view it. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by informational anxiety as so much data prattles uncontrollably at us from our screens, we have subconsciously become our own content editors and censorship committees, determining for ourselves which sites are worth frequenting and which ones are not, what content is good and what content is bad.
Back in the 70s, I was a reporter for WABC-TV, New York when we started an early evening news program called Eyewitness News. It was a time of ponderous, pompous, patronizing, local news fronted by distant, ultra-serious "voice of God" anchors. Eyewitness News changed all that.
How many numbing slides have you had to endure of pie charts or ones littered with hundreds of words? PowerPoint is probably one of the last media frontiers that we need to take a serious look at, implode and re-invent.
Today, would have been the 100th birthday of Marshall McLuhan, arguably Canada's most important contribution to the internet age (sorry Research In Motion). Wired magazine even made McLuhan their patr...