Editors Blog Nov. 17, 2021

The good, the bad, and the ugly of technology & social media

Technology has changed the way we live. There is no doubt about that. But I sometimes think to myself “is technology really helping, or does it just cause more issues?”

 

I’m old enough to remember life without computers and we were able to survive. But I’m not sure I would function very well without my laptop, iPad, smartphone, smart lights and other smart things.

 

When technology works, it is great. But occasionally, little gremlins come out of the woodwork to make the printer stop printing or make the computer do weird things. That is frustrating. When I really have had it with the computer, I remind myself “what would I do without it”, then I calm down and find the solution to the problem.

 

Technology has been for the most part, good for us. Technology has allowed science; medicine and many other subjects make great advances in a short period of time. We can see the benefits of technology all around us.

 

But with the good, there comes the bad.

 

I have been known to watch TV on my smartphone while sitting in my deer stand, because I was tired of looking at the trees and brush. I am sure that I have missed seeing some deer over the years. That’s bad. I have seen people so focused on their phone that they didn’t know they were walking into an intersection and almost got hit by a car. That’s bad.

 

Then there is social media.

 

When social media like Myspace first came out, I thought “it’s just another fad”. Then along came Facebook, Instagram and others. My coworkers kept asking “did you see that on Facebook?” Suddenly I felt like I was missing out on something.

 

I decided it was time to check it out. It was neat to “connect” with people I haven’t seen since high school and learn what they have been up to. I can see who got married, where have they traveled, how many children and grandchildren they have – all interesting information to me. I can wish them a happy birthday and maybe brighten their day just a little bit. I wouldn’t have a clue about when people’s birthdays are without Facebook. Those are some of the good things about social media.

 

However, the bad things about social media are growing almost exponentially.

 

At first some things just started getting annoying. I really don’t care what you had for dinner. Yes, the photo of your meal looks great. Congratulations. But I really don’t care. Most of the time I will just scroll on…

 

Occasionally, I will click the “like” button if the subject was of interest to me. I will post a comment when I feel that I have something to contribute. My parents taught me “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything.” That advise has worked well for me over the past 56 years. I think I will keep doing that.

 

Then there is the ugly. When I first started looking at social media, there was always that one person that had nothing positive to say about anything. A name was developed to identify these types of people. They were called “trolls”. I learned to stop reading their comments. Just scroll on…

 

But in the past few years, there are more “trolls” than normal people on social media. I could post a photo of a cute puppy online today and I swear, someone will have something negative to say about it.

 

Speaking of swearing, I guess it is now social media acceptable to use swear words when you post online. Apparently, the more the better. If you really want to see some examples of this, just check out some of the Facebook posts in the Bagley Chit Chat group.

 

I commend the people that created the group for trying to have a space online to information about what is going on around town. But there are people in the group that can’t complete even one sentence without including a swear word.

 

That reminds me of another thing I learned somewhere – “it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” I’m not a saint, I swear way too much when I talk. But I don’t think I have ever posted a swear word on social media. First impressions are important, and I don’t want people to see my posts and have the impression that I am a drunken sailor. I try to use good grammar as much as I am capable of. Ranting, raving, swearing, and throwing out accusations might work for some people, but I just scroll on…

 

Social media is used now to brainwash people into doing some crazy and scary stuff. Let’s do a live Facebook feed during a protest and through rocks and bottles at the police to see if we can get them to retaliate. Go slap a teacher or steal something from your school as part of a TikTok challenge. See if you can eat a Tide pod without killing yourself. I could go on and on. That’s the ugly part of social media.