Being assigned to read “The Public Square” chapter of Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation could not have come at a more appropriate time in American society. Turkle explores the effect of social media on modern politics, which has proven tremendous according to the recent presidential election. On page 297, she speaks on the apparent importance of Twitter to politics and activism. While I think there are undeniable benefits to utilizing a social media platform for certain purposes, I agree with Turkle’s sentiment that it is important to also acknowledge the limitations. For example, I wholeheartedly disagree with any presidential figure using Twitter to fear monger the public with false statements or to fight petty personal battles. In my opinion, it is unprofessional and disrespectful to communicate in this manner through social media. Further, it encourages mob mentality with thousands of people gathering behind these statements without even seeking evidence for themselves. Although I feel this way, it has proven to be an effective strategy for garnering extreme public support.
In regards to the positive aspects of social media, I do think that it can be beneficial for instances like organizing events, communicating globally, and evoking community support. As Turkle speaks about later in the chapter, nothing brings people together more than tragedy. In some cases, this is helpful, and I know that a lot of good has come from Twitter and other social networking sites. However, we must remain cautious about identifying matters that are appropriate for social media and matters that would be better handled in a professional setting. In addition, do your own research and investigation about the information you see, and don’t be sucked in to the dramatic magnet of mob mentality. It is easy to blindly follow everything you hear, but it is not productive to yourself or to society. We must continue engaging in meaningful conversation offline if we want to see true change in politics.
Tags (politics, conversation, social media, technology, Twitter)