Social media has led to the downfall of communication on any issue of importance. The freedom of invisibility allows many ‘keyboard warriors’ to speak their truth without any accountability for their actions. The excessive use of adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers in speech has convinced the posters of their basis in fact. Posts devalue human life by placing labels on groups with little to no regard to individuality. Misrepresentation of data such as videos without context, or quotes that do not apply to the topic has changed the dynamic of truth and relevancy.
The First Amendment only guarantees the United States government can not take any action that would interfere with the right of free speech. On social media, the First Amendment is seen as an accountability free card to do and/or say whatever is wanted with little regard to the impact those words will have on others. As the amendment only applies to the government, private businesses and organizations can and will use what is posted online against current or future employees.
Emotional modifiers used throughout social media attempt to influence the reader through strategic word choices that force the emotional viewpoint of the writer onto the reader. An example of that are the phrases “discoursing findings” or “inspiring findings”. While both discuss the results of a study, the emotion tethered to the words are vastly different. When readers share or forward these messages, they are often unaware of the pointed narrative that they are enabling.
When we reduce humans to a label, so will the reader. There is a difference between saying someone has a problem with alcoholism and calling them an alcoholic. By labeling them an alcoholic, we have reduced them to one aspect of their life and negated all that they were or will ever become. Political labels have caused unnecessary division based on voting patterns by convincing the reader that there are no common denominators left between who they are reading about. This is strategic writing for sensationalism.
The misrepresentation of data to drive an argument or discussion on social media not only causes division amongst readers, but it furthers the belief in the truth of the poster’s point. In 2018 American Progress reported that the wage gap between men and women is $0.80 to the male’s $1.00. While this is true according to the study done, it is not true in every position across the country. There are social factors that impact positions and hours available to both men and women. However, the data has been used across social media to drive messages of discrimination in industries where it does not exist.
Words have power, and the lack of personal accountability throughout social media has segregated humans into categories that are all-encompassing. The division forced readers and posters to assume sides instead of attempting to find a middle ground. If there are no repercussions for inflammatory or sensationalized media forums, blatant lies and half-truths will masquerade as fact that influences humans who believe what they read without independent verification.