Social Media is inherently self-serving. It has been from the very beginning. About as fast as Social Media platforms arose, they talk about and tools for creating a persona, building a personal brand, and protecting your public reputation came along too. So you will not see a lot of Social Media influencers risking their brand and reputation by approaching politically controversial topics.
The converse of investing much in our personal brands and building our selfishly conceived reputation is using Social Media as a channel for information. We hesitate to use the word objective. Because not everything is objective. We each have a perspective. Voicing it puts our individual ‘spin’ on it. Including our own biases.
Social Media is definitely a vehicle attuned to the spirit of authenticity. You’ve heard @marksalke say it over and over again: You can discover much about someone by following their digital and social exhaust. More and more these days, we see the emergence of political/social debates on Social Media platforms. Do they belong here? Yes! Speaking for ourselves, NOT speaking out about what we see as injustice and indignity is tacit approval and acceptance.
And we cannot touch upon these incidences without mention of the presidential election in the USA or the Brexit vote in the UK as impetus for giving voice to viewpoints and opinions that have simmered under the surface of society for some time.
And every once in a while, we hear of and see examples of light shining through darkness , where a story of acceptance and tolerance breaks out into the collective consciousness. One such example is a young man in Olathe, KS U.S.A. He attempted to disarm a suspect shooting at immigrants in a bar in that Kansas City suburb. Another is highlighted in a story by @eksays: ‘London is Open, London is Tolerant‘, where the Mayor of London put on a public showing of the movie The Salesman, by Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but Mr. Farhadi did not attend the ceremony, choosing to stand against the United States policy regarding immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations. In London, though, they turned out to view the film in celebration of the diversity of their city.
As Social Media has become a channel for open debate and argument on political hot potatoes like immigration, we find it perfectly acceptable to open ourselves (and our #SMXChat community) up to discussion of questions that are of great import to our society. No, to all of humanity. Think about it. Who among you has been witness to or victim of bias, bigotry and discrimination? And who among us has the courage to speak out against it?
Q1) Should one play down their own identity (religion, race, politics) in order to sanitise their digital image? Why?
Q2) There is a certain dignity in standing by our values & principles. Right? Wrong? And does that mean we lose credibility along the way?
Q3) How does putting one’s dignity and identity above the profit motive make us vulnerable? Why?
Q4) Is globalism something to be feared and demonised? Are we better off going it alone, in the sense of nationalism?
Q5) Is this discussion moot? Can the world go back to protectionism and nationalism? Does diversity hurt our business prospects?