Posts tagged #social networking

Would We Be Less Divided As Nation If Facebook And Twitter Didn't Exist? Or, Are Social Media Platforms A Reflection Of What Lies Within The American Heart?

In our hyper-partisan society, it seems the one thing everyone can agree on is that social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have not made America a more unified and respectful place.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reports 57 percent of Americans agree social media networks including Facebook and Twitter do more to divide the country than unite while 35 percent polled apparently have never been on political Twitter because they think the social sites help bring the nation together. One scroll through a politically related Twitter feed and those 35 percent would quickly change their mind.

In addition, 51 percent believe social media spread lies and falsehoods more than spreading news and information.

Sixty-one percent feel social media spreads more unfair attacks and rumors against public figures and corporations while 32 percent think these sites hold public figures and corporations accountable.

Finally, 26 percent say they have blocked or unfriended a contact on Facebook or another social media site due to their political views.

There are good aspects to social media that we all enjoy including learning about news we might’ve missed, watching funny videos and staying in touch with old friends and family.

However, it’s hard to deny these sites have also contributed largely to the hyper-political and hyper-partisan culture we live in. Every day there are people that find something new to be upset, angry and enraged about politically.

The thousands of daily hate-filled, personal attack Tweets aimed at public figures including members of Congress is disturbing. We live in a society that does not respect those in authority.

I’m not saying you have to agree with a representative on any or all issues because their position may go against your own religious and political beliefs but the personal, vile, vulgar, hate-filled posts on social media doesn’t help to move the political discussion forward. It just makes our society and politics more toxic which isn’t good for anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t have Facebook and Twitter would our politics be so personal and toxic? Could there be a chance that we’d be less divided on issues and could find more common ground if our national politics didn’t seem like such a battlefield that is fought daily in 280 characters or less on Twitter?

Or, have people always felt this way, and social media just amplifies thoughts and behavior that has always been there?

I believe social media has played a part in creating this more toxic environment that has contributed to our nation becoming more divided, but social sites aren’t the only reason we’re so divided.

The root of our divided country isn’t just the social platforms that allow awful people to say terrible things. The comments online are just a simple reflection of what lies within the users posting these messages.

Unfortunately, our society continues to move further away from a moral and religious foundation which is the main reason our politics and culture have become so dark and toxic. The moral collapse of our country is getting posted, liked, shared and Tweeted daily by the minute.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The Mainstream Media Should Be Beacons Of Truth In The Age Of Fake News, But New Poll Shows Many Americans Know They're Not.

According to a new poll of 2,200 Americans conducted by The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult, many Americans know what we all know to be true about the mainstream media: the majority of it is liberal.

The study reports 46 percent believe CNN leans liberal and 43 percent believe MSNBC is as well.

Just 12 percent believe CNN is neutral which is still too high of a number.

Broadcast TV networks are believed to have a liberal bias as well with 36 percent believing NBC is liberal, 35 percent for CBS, and 34 percent believe ABC’s coverage is slanted left.

Of the sample, 51 percent believe Fox News is conservative.

The poll also found that 40 percent of Americans believe there should be less coverage of politics with another 40 percent believing TV news should cover world events more. It’s hard to disagree with them on this point.

I’m glad to see there are so many others that are figuring out the agenda of the mainstream media. The more Americans figure out the news coverage they are receiving from mainstream traditional news sources is slanted, the better informed they’ll become because they will seek out more accurate, alternative sources.

In the age of the fake news and misrepresentation spreading all across social media, traditional journalism institutions should be beacons of truth and accuracy. A place Americans can turn to find the truth and not a biased agenda. Sadly, this isn’t the case and probably never will be. They’ll continue to go left, and because of this, their ratings will continue to go south.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

UK Government Establishing Regulator To Oversee Social Media And The Spread Of "Fake News" And "Disinformation." Will This Lead To Censorship?

The UK government has established the world’s first independent regulator to try and help social media giants like Facebook in check according to CNET.

Companies could face fines for not following the new requirements that will be implemented.

The goal of the new internet regulator is to make the web a safer place.

The regulator will ensure social media networks tackle problems including:

-Incitement of violence and the spread of violent (including terrorist) content

-Encouragement of self-harm or suicide

-The spread of disinformation and fake news

-Cyberbullying

-Children's access to inappropriate material

-Child exploitation and abuse content

The new requirements will apply to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media networks and other websites.

I believe everyone can agree that we don’t want children to have access to pornographic content or that violent inciting content should be widely available online to be viewed. However, what does concern me is who gets to decide what “disinformation” and “fake news” is?

We’ve already seen social sites deactivate and delete the accounts of Alex Jones and other political figures for their posts. While I don’t agree with Jones and others, they should be able to speak freely online unless they are encouraging violence or harm toward others.

While the new UK regulator has no jurisdiction over the U.S. and our access to social media content, this new governmental figure could push the social giants toward blocking certain websites in the UK because they feel it’s “disinformation” or “fake news.”

Wonder if he or she decides that BreitBart or The Daily Caller is “fake news”?

Would you be ok with that? If you’re a liberal, then maybe you’d say yes.

However, what if the new regulator says Mother Jones, CNN, or MSNBC is spreading “disinformation”? Which actually wouldn’t be a lie, CNN spread fake news for two and half years about Trump and Russia, but regardless, I would not agree with their websites being blocked off social media.

It’s a tricky and potential dangerous slippery slope when a government grants someone the ability to fine social sites for content on their websites they deem spreading “disinformation” or “fake news.”

Will this new UK regulator make the internet a safer place or just a more censored place?

I lean towards these new policies creating more censorship than safety.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook Is Paying For Positive Press In The UK Daily Telegraph By Purchasing Sponsored Stories To Be Featured In The Newspaper

Facebook is paying for positive press in the UK Daily Telegraph by purchasing sponsored stories to be featured in the newspaper.

The social media giant has paid for a series of positive stories to be featured about the company according to Business Insider to help the company gain positive coverage due to its often negative and controversial image.

Some of the stories the paper will publish defends the company on issues including hate speech, cyberbullying and terrorism. The company has received criticism for allowing live video streams to be published on some of these controversial topics with the latest live video headache occurring for the company after the Christchurch shooting video went live on the social site.

So far the Telegraph’s Spark, it’s sponsored content unit, has published 26 stories that have appeared in print and online.

A major theme of the stories is how Facebook is fighting to protect your data, which would probably be a better fit to run on The Onion website than a traditional hard news outlet.

If Facebook actually cared about its user’s data and made more effort to provide more controls to users concerning how their personal information is collected and used, they wouldn’t need to run a paid for public relations campaign. However, no amount of articles in a newspaper will change its negative public image. Only changing the company’s behavior will do that and the odds of that happening are very slim.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Chad Live on Major League Liberty 3/11/2019

Chad joined the crew of Major League Liberty on Monday night to discuss his recent article on the 2020 election and if a Democrat will be able to successfully use social media to face the “Tweeter-in-Chief” Donald Trump. Dr. Whittle’s interview starts at 8:43 in the video. Read Chad’s article here

Chad Whittle on The Melody Burns Show 3/7/19

Dr. Whittle joined Melody Burns to discuss the 2020 presidential election and how the candidates will use social media like Twitter to reach the voters with their message.

Chad at 'The Stream': Which Democrat Will Win the Twitter Primary to Face the Tweeter-in-Chief in 2020?

The 2020 primary is underway on the Democrat side of the aisle with almost every Democrat in America planning or considering launching a bid for the nomination. It will be interesting to watch the cable networks try to fit all of the Democrats onto the same stage for a debate.

We live in a new era in presidential politics thanks to social media and partially to Donald Trump, who used Twitter and other social media to his advantage in 2016.

The traditional way of winning the White House is to knock on doors, kiss babies, and hold campaign rallies in swing states. While these activities are still helpful and necessary, there is another component that is just as important, if not more important in modern politics: winning the social media primary.

Read the rest from Chad’s latest published article here at The Stream

Chad at 'Politichicks': Parents Should Limit Children’s Screen Time To Protect Their Moral And Spiritual Health

The UK Daily Mail reported on a recently released Ofcom (UK’s version of the FCC) study that said children as young as five are already spending hours per day online.

The study found children under five spend over an hour online per day. That number rises to over four hours per day when gaming and TV time are included. Children 12-15 years old spend nearly three hours per day online plus two additional hours watching TV. The study stopped at age 15, but if you have any older teenagers or college students, you don’t need a study to tell you how much they are on their phones or the computer. You witness it every day and almost every hour.

Other than the obvious problems including health issues like “text neck” and the lack of socializing with friends outside a screen, there is the concerning matter of the messages children are exposed to at this early age.

Read the rest at Politichicks

Future Political Power Belongs To Those That Tweet. Social Media is the Daisy Ad of 21st Century Politics

This may come as a surprise to many, but President Trump and Barack Obama have one thing in common when it comes to how they won the White House: Twitter. Unlike their competition, both men understood our modern culture and how important and influential social media is. This is something John McCain, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton never understood.

McCain, Romney, and Clinton all ran campaigns that would’ve had a better chance of success about 30 years ago. Each candidate never focused their main media efforts on social media. They instead went with a traditional campaign by hitting the campaign trail and talking with local residents, buying TV ad time, participating in debates and scheduling interviews on cable news shows. I’m not saying you shouldn’t still do those things for the 2020 election because each is still important to the success of your campaign. However, none of those efforts can drive the conversation about your campaign like social media can.

Looking at the ages of McCain, Romney, and Clinton compared to Obama you could simply say it’s just a generational thing that the younger Obama knew and understood more about social media’s power than his Baby Boomer opponents. However, 72-year-old Trump blows up that argument.

Like Obama, Trump’s team had a keen understanding on not just the power and influence of social media but how to use it to control the narrative and drive the national conversation. No one could ever be better at this than Trump. He is the Twitter master.

With one simple meme or Tweet, Trump during his campaign and now will receive countless hours of coverage on cable news shows and in newspapers across the country. Most days the traditional media no longer drives the daily political narrative, but instead it is merely reacting to what has occurred on social media.

According to Axios, newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now second to Trump on total Twitter interactions defined as retweets and likes. This is why you recognize her name. There are other first-term Senators, but how many of them can you name? Unlike her, they have not mastered or understand the power of social media.  

Future political power belongs to those that understand how to use social media effectively. Twitter is the Daisy or Willie Horton ad of 21st century politics.   

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Is Social Media Addiction The Next American Mental Health Crisis?

There is a growing debate among Congress and the political pundit class on whether the Trump administration should consider breaking up the tech titans or if Congress should pass new regulations on Facebook, Google, Twitter and just for the fun of it, I’ll mention MySpace in this conversation as well. Yes, MySpace still exists. No, I don’t know anyone who uses it.

While freedom of speech issues on social networks and the possible breaking up of the Silicon Valley giants are both topics of great importance, the mental health issues that are being caused by social media use is equally as important.

Recent studies report a rise in levels of anxiety and depression among teenage and young adult users of social media. The BBC reported on a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that found participants who said they use seven or more social networks were more than three times as those that use between zero-two platforms to have higher levels of general anxiety symptoms.

 A study in the Clinical Psychological Science journal with a sample of over 500,000 U.S. adolescents in grades 8-12, found that between 2010-2015 there was an increased rate of depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes among those who spent more time on social media and smartphones with these participants reporting more mental health issues than those that spent time on non-screen activities.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology discussed the growing trend of people seeking surgery to make their face be more appealing for selfies. In 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that 55 percent of surgeons mentioned having patients that were seeking surgery procedures due to social media. 

These are just some of the many recent academic and mainstream press stories on the growing trend of mental health issues due to social media use. However, none of this should come as a surprise.

If you have spent any time on a social media platform, then you have encountered someone that is obsessed with likes, swipes and follows. Or, maybe you are the person that is spending hours per day trying to become social media famous.

This is not healthy behavior as research and common sense continues to prove. We have a generation of fame-obsessed teens and college students that I am afraid are becoming only more infatuated with fleeting social media fame. This behavior could be not only bad for their mental health but their physical health as well. If you browse YouTube, you’ll find videos of teenagers trying very dangerous stunts in an attempt to go viral.

The next time Congress holds hearings concerning social media and freedom of speech on these platforms and regulation, I hope Senators will also hold the wizards of Silicon Valley’s feet to the fire concerning their highly addictive products.

It’s not all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault. Healthy behaviors should start at home and in schools, but it’s time social media companies do more to help turn the tide of mental health issues that their products are no doubt partially contributing to in young adults.

Helping teens and young adults have less mental health issues is something we all can give a thumbs up to.

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How To Fix Facebook Before Users "Unfriend" Zuckerberg's Creation En Masse

Facebook is a mess right now.

The Mark Zuckerberg social giant is currently in the middle of multiple controversies that range from top executives leaving the company, to privacy concerns among a multitude of users, to talks of investigations into antitrust violations from Capitol Hill.

It seems the company is getting it from all sides and that many are wanting to “unfriend” them.

From a user standpoint, fixing Facebook isn’t as complicated as it may seem.

In fact, it’s a very simple solution.

Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned with what personal data the company is obtaining and for what purposes they are using their data.

If Facebook wants to calm user’s fears, the social network should give users greater control over how their data is used. This would include providing more controls over how their data is used for advertising purposes and provide more opt-in and opt-out policies for consumers that would allow them to decide how their data is used.

Another move the company should make is to offer paid subscription options that provide users with an ad-free experience and also allows no data collection whatsoever by the social site. In addition, with a higher tier subscription plan, the site could offer a more encrypted experience for users to help protect their data better.

Not only would subscription tiers be great PR for the company to show they’re concerned about their user’s data, it would also help make up for loss revenue from their declining advertising business.

A report on Fast Company reports consumption time on Facebook was down from 16.5% in September 2017 to 14.3% in September of this year. The less people log onto Facebook, the less time they are seeing display ads resulting in a decline in revenue. However, the site is still second to only Google in digital consumption, so it’s not time to panic yet if you’re a Facebook investor. The company is still making billions.

To help stop accusations of political bias, Zuckerberg should show goodwill by creating a board that includes leaders from both the right and the left that meets to help discuss and put into practice policies that make sure all voices are heard fairly on the platform.

Facebook is a company in crisis on many fronts, but it’s silly to think the tech behemoth will suddenly disappear like MySpace. The company is almost too big to fail at this point and is too ingrained in our daily lives and culture for there to be a mass revolt of users away from the platform.

However, there are changes that the company can and should make in order to turn the ship around before it enters into uncharted tech territories that could eventually sink it because history has proven that even some of the world’s largest corporations can hit a financial iceberg and go down like the Titanic.  

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