How “social” is social media?

The internet has caused an explosion of information and knowledge that has never been experienced before in the world. Only four decades ago the conversation I’m having now would not have been possible because there was no world wide web. But what real personal value is there in social media? I’m not on facebook, I’m not on twitter, I’m not on youtube, never been on Instagram or snapchat etc. I was once on reddit but the language is so dirty I have had to close my account. I still like to interact online with people but my interest in social media is gradually waning and I think it’s because of the following 6 reasons:

1. People on social media are often the opposite of what they present themselves to be. A person who appears happy, friendly and excitable on social media may not be sociable or friendly at all in real life. So you might want to rethink the idea that you’re connected to someone.

2. Social media is filled with too much intellectual rubbish. It accounts for about 40% spam on the entire web. Everybody seem to have their own version of the same truth. This creates a lot of confusion. If you are a factual person it’s far better to go to a library and read something decent and useful there.

3. It wastes a great deal of time. Ofcourse it’s good for people to interact. We’re social beings but some people don’t know when to stop or slow down. Hours spent on social media can be used to do something more productive than simply talking.

4. Social media is a cloak. People hide their true personality and identity which makes it useless should you record/save anything about someone you think you know. Names, Identities and web addresses can change at anytime. Are you thinking of online dating or relationships? Good luck! But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

5. Social media is filled with perverts, the most bizarre ones. On social media, they have a field day. You never know until the truth catches up. Some are lesbians, some are gay, some are zooerastians. The saddest part is that many people take advice from these “friends” on social media. Very sad indeed.

6. Social media is an ideological rubbish heap. You can meet just about any type of person who will reinforce any distorted notions you have about yourself, others or life situations. This makes it dangerous for young or inexperienced peope. If you’re thinking of ruining your own life through alcoholism, drugs or violence I bet you will find people on social media who will fuel these ideas. So how “social” is social media?

According to research, most people are influenced by what they see and hear on social media. I’m on WordPress because it’s more than just social interaction site. I’d say WordPress is a great place to train yourself if you’re serious about being a writer. Considering the huge information load on social media, the most valuable intellectual skills you can have is the ability to quickly and instinctively sift truth from lies.

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Intellectualism and Pseudo-Intellectualism

I looked up the definition of ‘intellectual’ after I was labelled by some co-bloggers as indulging in ‘false intellectualism.’ I didn’t know what that phrase meant, neither did I think anyone could successfully pretended to be intelligent or clever without ultimately making a fool out of himself. Intelligence is inborn – arising from the genes, so it’s either one knows something based one’s experience or one simply does not know. Moreover, I don’t blog to prove anything to anyone, truth is self evident. I just blog because I love to share my thoughts and ideas.

The dictionary came up with the following definitions:

Intellectual: Of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind. 

Intellectual: Possessing or showing intellect or mental capacity, especially to a high degree.

Intellectual: Appealing to or using the intellect or a person who uses the mind creatively.

Intellectualism (philosophy): The doctrine that knowledge is acquired by reason alone without resort to experience

Of the last definition which could easily pass for truth, I nonetheless disagree with that philosophical doctrine. I believe all knowledge is derived from sensory perception and therefore from experience. But it is the intellect that discloses the true meaning of an experience and sends the message to the individual. Without the experience or stimuli, there will be no message. Even with much experience, the message could be weak.

If someone writes a good essay or a poem or an article, is he not using his or her  mind creatively? Is that not an intellectual activity. So what at all do they mean by pseudo-intellectualism? Do we need to acquire PhDs in order to confer intellectualism on ourselves, because I know people who have acquired doctorates but apart from their dissertation, they have not written even a pamphlet. They simply sit in lousy offices and enforce unexplainable rules. Being an intellectual is not something that is inherited through degrees. One is born with it and it’s exhibited from childhood and probably only validated through high academic qualifications. Even then the biggest problems of this world were solved and are continuously being solved by people who did not even have any definitive education. That’s probably why the Academia is now, more than ever, admittable of people who can demonstrate practical knowledge of a field but without necessary certification. Misdirected education is a waste of time but it also doesn’t mean dropping out of college and putting the cart before the horse. That is regrettable.

Maybe my critics will label me differently once I complete my masters degree and inform them to that effect. But…wait a minute! maybe it’s not about my education. People who call me pseud-intellectual may actually be doing so because I am a black African living in the jungles of Africa – I am not supposed to discern much or speak with an intellectual or rational voice. Is that right? Well, here is the good thing: I am quite impervious to criticisms – in fact I welcome them.