The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “social media

High Speed Hate

Posted on November 1, 2018

It’s no accident that the New York Timespublished a piece by Frank Bruni this week titled, “The Internet Will Be the Death of Us” directly following the murders of the 11 Jewish worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue. In its concluding paragraph, the column noted: “I don’t know exactly how we square free speech and free expression with a better policing of the Internet, but I’m certain that we need to approach that challenge with more urgency than we have mustered so far. Democracy is at stake.  So are lives.” We can no longer ignore the direct line that runs from Internet hatred to the loss of life.  But neither can we claim ignorance anymore that the haters, trolls and agitators with mendacity on their minds and…

Elections: Social Media Gets It Right When We Use It Right

Posted on October 16, 2018

Technology and elections have gone hand in hand for a long time and it hasn’t always been a comfortable fit.  When radio and television came along, so did the opportunity to put image in front of substance.  Voting machines, while quicker, became known for glitches, recounts, and recounts and hanging chads. But nothing – nothing – has confounded politics and elections the way that social media has in the last decade.  Rather than putting more meaning and information into the process, platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter have front-end loaded misinformation, hackers, trolls, “fake news” and even the commercialization of privacy. Perhaps the worst of it all is that none of us feel we can do anything about it.  Facebook and Twitter especially…

“The Third Place (Chapter 14) – Humanity”

Posted on August 16, 2018

Dad had to take care of some financial tasks at the bank down the street, but when he returned we journeyed back upstairs to the balcony, which because it was afternoon was no longer bathed in light.  A comfortable coolness fell over us.  Instead of lemonade, the preferred beverage was now coffee. “Alright,” Alessandra began, “I want to talk about politics and democracy, if you’re up to it that is.  I think I get why the Third Place is so important to you, but I’d like to know what you think of our modern era and why we’re having so much trouble keeping ourselves together.  I travel that U.S. more than any other place and I see it everywhere.  Do you think that’s what’s…

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,…

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