Entering An Academic Conversation
February 14, 2019
Thesis statement: Because the power of social media is in the hands of people it is ineffective for attaining freedom, democracy, and civilization.
Standage, Radcliffe, and Blum evaluate the impact of social media on freedom of speech, democracy and civilization. Tom Standage in the article “History Retweets Itself” examines the role of social media on freedom of speech. The author makes the argument that social media involve bad consequences as well. He claims that social media not only gives freedom for sharing bad ideas but also promote negative things. Dana Radcliffe in the article "Dashed Hopes: Why Aren't Social Media Delivering Democracy?" Through social media countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Lybia failed to establish democracy depicting the ineffectiveness of social media. Susan D. Blum in "The United States of (Non) Reading - The End of Civilization or a New Era?" The argument states that dependence on the Internet has undermined the concept of reading in youth. The three authors in their arguments are addressing youth and students who are addicted to social media. The purpose is to inform them about the negative impacts of social media.
Social media did not pave ways for the achievement of democracy. Dana makes an argument that the purpose of using social media in the Arab spring was to unite against dictatorship and gain freedom. The reality was different because these countries failed to attain democracy. Radcliffe mentions, “with the qualified exception of Tunisia, Arab Spring did not transform dictatorship into democracies” (Radcliffe, 88). She further argues that democracy cant is achieved until people are equal and share the same interests. Although social media united people on a common platform, but it couldn't transform their personal interests. Standane also expresses his concerns about the misuse of social media. He mentions, "racism, sexism, bigotry, incivility, and ignorance abound in many online discussion forums” (Standane, 81). The platform allows certain groups to engage in unproductive and unnecessary discussions that do not reflect the themes of freedom of expression.
The political power of social media is in the hands of the people who hold them. Standane claims that social media don't guarantee that freedom of expression is used for good ides only. There are equal chances for its exploitation. Standage mentions, “Greater freedom of expression, means that bad ideas will proliferate as well as good ones, but it also means that bad ideas are more likely to be challenged” (Standane, 81). Access to such platforms will empower certain groups who can use freedom of expression for promoting hatred or chaos. Dana claims that groups or government can control social media that will again undermine the notion of democracy. Dana claims social media is a "power to inform or misinform people, to engage or manipulate, to mobilize or control” (Radcliffe, 88). The statement depicts that social media is an effective tool that can be used for misleading people. The events of the twenty-first century indicate that social media has me manipulated by certain groups or politicians for specific interests.
Social media cause more harm than benefits to society. Although the purpose of social media is to empower people but is used for negative things. Standane claims, “Twitter allows anyone to send threats or abuse directly to other users” (Standane, 81). These platforms are more commonly used for criticizing others that promote emotions of hatred. Dana mentions, “current use of social media favors affinity over engagement, expression over the debate, silence over a disagreement, dogmatism over compromise and towards opponents, disdain over-respect" (Radcliffe, 88). The authors argue that social media is unsafe because it gives the right of disrespecting and humiliating anyone. Technology has discouraged students from reading. Blum argues that the students are less likely to spend time on reading when they Blum states, “ almost 19 percent don’t read for class, in terms of time, 94 percent of students spend less than two hours on any given reading for class, 62 percent spend less than an hour” (Blum, 105). Dana claims that internet involves more adversaries than benefits. The time students spend on productive activities is less than the time they spend on ruthless commenting.
Short items on websites encourage students to skip book reading. students in the current era have many reasons to avoid reading. Contents are available in short forms that consume less time. Students prefer to read plots or summaries to save time for playing to other activities. Blum mentions, “So if students are sipping text constantly on their devices, and suddenly they are asked to consume what sounds like an insurmountable mountain of pages in some other form — and for what!? They are likely to avoid it entirely” (Blum, 105). They are convinced that relying on devices is a better choice because it saves time. Everyone is thus willing to skip reading for spending time on leisure activities. Blum has criticized the role of technology due to its adversarial impacts on the youth.
The three articles prove that the Internet and social media are impractical tools for attaining freedom, democracy, and civilization. The central arguments highlight the negative implications of the internet and social media. Standane proves that freedom of expression is promoting harmful activities like sexism and bigotry. Dana assures that social media does not guarantee democracy. Blum through examining reading activities confirms adversarial causes of the internet. In summary, the internet and social media have changed the attitudes of youth by engaging them in unsafe activities.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Blum, Susan D. The United States of (Non)Reading: The End of Civilization or a New Era? 2017. 14 02 2019 <https://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-d-blum/united-states-of-nonreading_b_4066244.html>.
Lidinsky, April and Stuart Greene. From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008.
Radcliffe, Dana. Dashed Hopes: Why Aren’t Social Media Delivering Democracy? 2016. 14 02 2019 <https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-radcliffe/dashed-hopes-why-arent-so_b_8343082.html>.
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