12/8/15 The Tediousness of Republishers

I admit it. I am hooked on social media just like so many others. There is a caveat for social media’s principals, though…I am beginning to see just how threadbare it is, and can see some daylight through the once heavy, formerly new cloth.

Thanks to every one of you who share your music, your lives, photos of your families, your achievements, and even the political thoughts that are actually yours. Social media is a valuable way to connect, reconnect, and stay connected.

To all of you whose mission is to reform the world through the lazy use of outrageous links, I say a hearty, “No, thanks!”

An old adage in the world of news is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” We now have more than a billion people republishing (known as SHARING) bleeding links that are solely designed to get hits, not relay any useful information. Outrageous headlines sell newspapers. They also sell social media ‘clicks’. I’m no longer buying.

So many of us fail to realize that these links are only followed by the crowd who already reflect the pathos of the link, and merely alienate the rest. So many of the links have no basis, and the content that supports the headline is a twisted narrative so misshapen that it needs an entire engineering firm to make it fit anything like the real world. It doesn’t matter whether the shared links are conservative or progressive, they are all equally bad, and injudiciously republished.

My progressive friends spend their time and energy debunking things republished by conservatives. My conservative friends spend time and energy debunking things republished by progressives. No one is served, no one is persuaded, no minds are changed… rather, the ether is just filled with a scurrilous invective that offends the recipient and makes the republisher feel mean and low down.

“So there!” shouted a conservative republisher.

“Take that!” replied a progressive republisher.

Both walked away thinking they won the exchange hands down, but casual observers thought them both childish and petulant. The observers were saddened by the shallowness of arguments conducted solely in bloody headlines, not contemplative knowledge. Each republisher thought the other was obliterated by the fiery dart sent forth in anger, while each was only wounded enough to inflict a pain that turned to more anger. Quick to wrath, the folly of each republisher was exposed, though this was only apparent to the observers, not the republishers.

I am a conservative. I do not apologize for it. If you know me, you already know that I am a conservative. I have been so since I became politically aware. I am not likely to change, though you can try. But your trying should consist of what you are steeped in, framed as what you think, not merely as links to what someone else has thought, lazily shared through the click of a mouse button. It is too easy to do that and much harder to sit at a keyboard and compose your own thoughts.

Most of you who know me who are progressive in slant, yet knowing I am conservative, still manage to like me, as I do you, though in some cases, we may just be polite enough to conceal our contempt for each other. That could be true, but I don’t think so, though if it were, our politeness is to be commended, since manners are a big part in getting our message heard, even if it gets rejected upon the hearing. Good manners is just good business.

So, are you sharing? Or are you really just republishing? I think there is a difference. The latter only serves those who make the bloody headlines, and perhaps the multi-billionaire owners of these social media empires, who collect personal information to manipulate us into market pawns, for sale to those who think it prudent to pay for access to us.

I am beginning to think of how uninterested I am in Mark Zuckerberg, his social media empire, his efforts to shape the political landscape, and his new-found philanthropy. It’s not just Mr. Zuckerberg. Insert the name of any silicon valley giant. Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Jobs, et al, are the robber barons of a new era. They are the Andrew Carnegies, the Cornelius Vanderbilts, the John D. Rockefellers of our time. Eventually, they will perhaps be viewed by the world at large as unfavorably as their predecessors. Time will tell.

So…please use the media mechanisms that are made possible by those giants to tell me what YOU think about things. And please do so after having thought about it yourself, and written it with your own fingers, rather that clicking on a link, lazily, as if you were using the remote from your easy chair to change to one of the 500 channels of things you don’t want to watch anyway, finally choosing the least undesirable one. You can’t make me watch it. Nor, through your republishing, can you make me read it.

Rather than posturing, let’s go fishing. We can talk things over and enjoy each other’s company in the midst of disagreement. The occasional fish will remind us of why we’re there, making us quickly forget about any dissension. Maybe our only argument will wind up to be who caught the biggest fish. It won’t matter much, as we clean them, cook them, and sit down an share a meal together.

That sounds a whole lot more interesting than a republished link. It just might be more persuasive, too.

©2015 Mississippi Chris Sharp

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