Letter from Shawforth:social (unsocial) network

Posted: May 9, 2012 in Discussion, Opinions, Society, Technology, Uncategorized
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 “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”
― AristotlePolitics

Advancing technologies have created opportunities for good, evil and everything in between to be readily accessible at the push of a button; whether on mobile phone, lap-top computer or iPad.

An example of such opportunity is the “social network” –Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) and Twitter (Jack Dorsey) — accessed by social animals, intrigued by the opportunities open to them within this new virtual society; a society void of the spoken word.

I have to admit that I joined the “common life”, with reference to the society of a social network.

I network on Twitter and Facebook.

I know more real people on Facebook; by that I mean people I have actually met in person, mainly close friends and family and some work colleagues.

My Twitter network is mainly people I have never met: conversations are around similar interests; demographically the Twitter network is more diverse.

What I have noticed about social networks, more so Twitter than Facebook, is the amount of unsolicited diatribe posted. And I am intrigued by the amount of air-time given through media-networks to, such often vile, rubbish.

As with the real world and the virtual world of the social network we populate there are those of us who comply with moral and ethical standards, and those who believe they have no need to comply with and are above such standards (cowards, often hiding behind the anonymity of a pseudonym).

As we no more wish to be exposed to this bitter and abusive writing as we wish to hear it in the street, it is the users of the networks who have a responsibility to censor. The often put forward argument that the social network providers should censor the comments is not one I agree with per se. However, in a democratic society the provider should act responsibly acting upon the requests of the majority.

So if we are to accept Aristotle’s observations, we must expect to see these “animals” and “gods” within social networks and learn to treat them with the contempt they disserve as they make the social society, unsocial.


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