Do you know what social media needs?
Editors. I mean managing editors. Lots of them.
You simply cannot have hundreds of millions of people constantly posting blasphemous, slanderous, salacious, treasonous and completely inaccurate things online without it having severe implications for everyone.
I mean, right now, it’s a free for all. It’s the Wild West. It’s like kids on crack. People are literally running amok online.
While I adore social media, I must also say that it’s the perfect example of why mankind needs guidelines, restrictions, laws and in this case … managing editors.
If we didn’t have clear boundaries, we’d literally kill ourselves. Freedom to do as we please is one thing, but taking things to ridiculous extremes is quite another.
Let me give a quick illustration.
Just yesterday, I was out driving. I live in a state that has no helmet law. Since the weather is so great now, tons of folks are out riding their motorcycles and needless to say, very few, if any of them, wear helmets or knee and elbow pads.
I’ve even seen couples going full speed on the highway (zooming past me), with the wife or girlfriend riding on back, wearing nothing more than a tank top, shorts and flip flops … with no protection to speaking of … on a speeding motorcycle … on the freeway.
Here’s the thing.
These people are proof positive that society must have guidelines and laws because the only way that these reckless people would wear helmets – to safeguard their own lives mind you – is if the law forced them to do so.
I know … I know. Motorcycles are about freedom, independence and open spaces. I get it.
But still, we live a world that requires adult supervision … not for the purpose of killing our fun, but merely to keep us from going to extremes and killing ourselves.
But anyway, back to social media. Where was I? Oh yeah …
Lots of folks have gone to extremes with social media. They often say and do things online that they would never do in their actual lives because social media doesn’t have enough gatekeepers.
Social media needs more educated, responsible, insightful managing editors (with web administrator permissions) who can protect people from themselves. In a way, I can’t believe that I’m actually saying this because it could smack of censorship.
But trust me, it is not.
Chat with any professional journalist or even famous writer and they will all tell you that they have editors – people who edit their work, make suggestions, check for accuracy, chop things out, etc.
The only professional writers and journalists who don’t have editors are those who’ve been at it for many years (like yours truly) and have their own websites, blogs, etc. Many of these people still need editors.
Years ago, I saw a great Ann Rice interview in which she said that it took her many years to get to the point in her writing career where she could edit her own books. Isn’t this stunning?
Now keep in mind, Ann Rice is a well-known, super-competent writer and author. If most professional writers and journalists have editors, shouldn’t John and Jane Doe tweeting up a storm have some sort of gatekeepers to make sure they’re not slandering anyone on social media?
It would certainly behoove social media platforms to take greater action along these lines and avoid the headaches of future lawsuits that are sure to come.
Of course, many already have guidelines and stipulations, but they fall far short when it comes to policing these policies. Consequently, far too many people have this “free for all” mentality that gives them permission to post and say anything they want … whether it’s true or not.
Look … I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s fun. This is pure common sense.
We simply have too many untrained people on social media who are doing exactly as they please with no sense of integrity or consequences. This is unacceptable and we deserve much better as a society.
There’s a huge difference between freedom of expression and free for all.
Human nature continues to teach us that while unbridled free will and free choice are fantastic, they often lead to disaster.
Social media needs managing editors … like now. I mean look, in a perfect world, everyone would have greater self-discipline and be more responsible about what they say and do, but that’s simply not the reality for all of us.
Of course, the problem is … how on earth do you monitor the online activities of hundreds of millions of people without it becoming censorship or the stuff of authoritarian governments?
Perhaps we should chat that up on Twitter. No?