Troy Posted November 6, 2014 Report Share Posted November 6, 2014 Not only were social media sites not an alternative forum for discussion, social media users were less willing to share their opinions in face-to-face settings. So says a study conducted by the Pew Research Center and fielded August 7-September 16, 2013 by Princeton Research Associates International. Over the last few years as activity on these discussion forums has decreased (quite substaintially), I often contemplated why. I recognize that social media takes up more of people time, including my own, but I also recgnize that social media is not a perfect subtitue for a forum like this. In a forum like this one has the opportunity to see everything that is written. On social media, unless you actively look, the platform decides what you see. In a forum like this a conversation can span many months, years even. On social media the conversations are much more fleeting. On social media you can't share rich media. You can't even make text bold or italicize it. Of course there are many deficiencies, but there are some benefits too. Social media is very easy use and access. But perhaps the biggest benefit is actually the reason I derive far less pleasure from social media; you can't have a vigorous, debate on social media. Debate just does not happen, really. Social media understands this is not what people really want to do. People are not likely to express an opinions if they believe other will disagree; it is human nature. The report I linked to above goes into more detail. Traditional forums, like this, are less desirable to most people because you are more likely to encounter someone who may know more about a subject than you do, may feel more strongly about that subject, and may strongly disagree with you. Most people avoid these situations. Which is why we always had more readers (lurkers) of these forums than writers who contributed to the conversation. Social media has exploited a person's natural desire to be agreed with and liked. There are people, like me, however, who like to have their opinions tested and like to debate. But I know, from my personal interactions that I fall into the minority. This discussion forum, and other like it, provided a platform for me to express myself the way I could not in public. I miss the days when I could debate with other more frequently on subjects that I care about. Sure sometimes the debate devolved in arguments and some folks would not play nice could become abusive, but that happens in the real world too. Social media does not provide a platform to debate, that would attract far less people, and not be nearly as profitable. So I find myself biting my tongue as I would in the real world, and the opportunities to express a more complex side of myself ideas and explore those of other is becoming rarer--despite all this technology. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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