SMH political journalist Paul Sheehan assesses the Facebook page which must surely make even Tony Abbott blanche at the level of dislike aimed towards him when his honeymoon period has only just begun http://www.smh.com.au/comment/welcome-to-the-abbottoir-20130915-2tsrm.html Welcome to the Abbottoir!
Is the “celebration of closed minds” as Sheehan describes one of the worst websites around, a sign of our social media times? While democracy is touted as one of Facebook’s strengths has a monster been unleashed where elements of the community have lost the ability to discern what should be expressed privately as opposed to venting publicly?
Howard Rheingold forsaw huge cultural changes in the mid 1990s as the effect of internet use on the individual ” ,,, are relationships and commitment as we know them even possible in a place where identities are fluid? We reduce and encode our identities as words on a screen, decode and unpack the identities of others.”
Mark Poster, author of The Second Media Age wrote in 1995 that many have interpreted the success of ‘virtual communities’ as an indication that ‘real’ communities are in decline. While the vilification of an individual such as a politician is an easy kicking post for all that is wrong with social media, is the en masse denegration of an invdividual a worthy reflection of how a real community should behave? Is the price of democracy too high as the bar of common decency is lowered ? Do we also take it at face value that 166,000 people expressed their view of Tone, or was it just a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands?
The ‘right of reply’ with social media is an important conundrum for any professional working in communications, so if you were one of the Prime Minister’s political advisors, at what point would you consider entering the fray of ‘social’ debate?