The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “social media

Putting the Social Back Into Social Media

Posted on April 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, many Londoners were asking whether the time had come to get off Facebook altogether. Individuals who have blithely used the platform for years were fearing for their privacy, security and politics. Yet the implications for communities are as insidious, and perhaps even more destructive, as for individuals. Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, in a blog titled “Why I’m quitting Facebook,” decided the time had come for her because: “Facebook peddles in outrage . . . It has become a toxic echo chamber where people who have anything positive to say are often in defense mode against negativity and anger. Continuous reinforcement of existing beliefs tends to entrench those beliefs more deeply, while also making them more extreme and resistant to contrary facts.”…

Our Relationship With Facebook Will Never Be the Same

Posted on March 27, 2018

In 2016, some 18.2 million Canadians used Facebook, and until the platform’s seismic struggles in the past two weeks that number was expected to grow to 20 million.  It has a 75% reach among Canadian internet users and has twice as high a user rate than Twitter.  More than half of Facebook users are women and 84% of young Canadians use it on a weekly basis. These numbers are staggering, making up half of all Canadians, and whether we like or not, contain serious implications for our democracy, for good or ill. Lately the “ill” part has been getting all the attention, justifiably so.  With half the country on Facebook the temptation for political manipulation is extreme and, as with south of the border,…

The Ripping of Our Social Fabric

Posted on December 30, 2017

Another year is ending, and in some respects we are more divided as Londoners than ever – not a popular sentiment, I know, but one with which we must come to terms. Somewhere in the last few years, the possibilities we once envisioned for social media to help guide us into a more collaborative future have floundered. Friendships have been lost, enemies gained, and a brighter future dimmed. It has exacerbated an already difficult generational divide in London and threatens to derail our potential. We’re not alone in this challenge, as communities around the world wrestle with a remarkable resource that has somehow turned citizens against one another. News was made recently when former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, spoke out concerning the harm the…

Opting In by Opting Out

Posted on October 16, 2017

One of the consequences of missing the mark on predicting the future is not only confusion, but disillusionment. It’s happening with democracy at this moment in time, leaving many feeling more isolated from the political process than ever. An example is what has occurred with the activities of mass media or social media. Futurists used to say that these new forms of communicating news and information would bring citizens deeper into the political process, leading to a democratic renaissance. In reality, we have discovered that what has occurred in recent years actually completed the alienation of people from politics and from one another. Throughout the process, anger levels remain troublingly high. Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle used this troubling reality as the title…

Yelling Past One Another

Posted on January 12, 2017

Just how difficult our politics have become turned up on social media feeds this week and in traditional media. As is often the case, Twitter failed to live up to its ideals by suspending the account of Alexandra Brodsky, an advocate for gender-free violence in education. She works at the National Women’s Law Centre and is no stranger to verbal conflict. When she received a number of harassing tweets from anti-semitic trolls, Brodsky took the unusual step of posting screenshots of the offensive tweets on Twitter. She also reported the occurrences to Twitter, asking that they suspend the offenders, some of whom posted, “Welcome to Trump’s America,” and “see you in the camps,” along with images of the Holocaust. It wasn’t hard to see…

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