I read an interesting post written by Lauren Fernandez a few days ago – “Social Media Hypocrites: How genuine is this platform?”
In her post, Lauren asks whether social media provides people with “too much leeway for hypocrisy” and whether some involved in social media abuse that medium. The post was written to spur conversation – and it has. In her post, Lauren writes:
Question. Are we all social media hypocrites? Ok, not all of us, but definitely a few. How genuine is social media? I read blog posts of a stance someone holds, then they speak a different opinion if someone disagrees. They network with people based solely off their profession, not off what they stand for, like, etc. They tell me one thing to try to “build” or “connect” with me, but tell my friend Bob something else. Guess what? Bob and I talk.
The questions Lauren asks in her post are both appropriate and legitimate. Yet, I wonder whether as a group, we’re holding social media to a different standard than other forms of media – or better yet – other forms of communication.
Lauren’s post reminded me of an excellent panel at SXSW this past March led by Russ Unger and David Armano – “Friendship Is Dead”. That panel explored “how the word ‘friendship’ came to be and … how our online social networks have begun to erode away at what friendship has meant.” I had the same reaction to Russ and David’s panel – that in assessing the purported erosion of “friendship”, we’re holding our online activities to a different standard than our offline activities (and friendships).
I suspect that many of us would agree that there are plenty of hypocrites in social media (starting with the so-called “experts”). But hypocrisy is hypocrisy – whether on Twitter or in a face-to-face conversation. There’s real value in exploring the questions such as those Lauren asks in her post. But in exploring such questions, shouldn’t we hold all of our relationships, interactions and communications to a common standard?
image credit: assbach