Facebook has rightly come in the firing line for its shoddy handling of personal data but I have a problem with the hysteria around the issue which seems to miss the point.
Social media sites are abusing our data because we allow them to do so. The contract is that services like facebook are free and we give them our data in return. Its up to the user to practise personal media responsibility, and very little of that seems to be happening in the fast digital world that demands immediate reaction.
We unfortunately live in a time where we are constantly being bombarded with toxic emotions such as anger and fear. These are emotions that appeal to our primitive mind. Negativity gets our attention first. We are programmed that way as humans to avoid possible danger.
Social media and the technical means of spreading hate mail or fake media around the globe within seconds is something we have never experienced before in the history of mankind. Whether we jump for the bait is a personal choice, however.
The downside of social media is the complete lack of a fact-checking system, allowing every stupid and dim-witted user to spread his hate-mail. A case in point was this weekend when a deranged German crashed his van into a crowd, killing two people and injuring 20 others. Authorities were quick to point out that there was no evidence of an Islamic background. But a leader of Germany’s rightwing AfD party, Beatrix von Storch, only minutes after the incident implied in a tweet that a migrant was the perpetrator. The objective was clear: Stir up us much anger and hatred against migrants even if the facts aren’t clear.
Hatred and fear are emotions that easily spiral out of control. They are the biggest hindrance to living a healthy life of happiness and abundance. Emotions of fear and anger are so powerful that they will lock you into a negative mode, pulling you into a continuous negative spiral. You are no longer in control of your thoughts and open yourself to manipulation by demagogues and rogue politicians. Worse they are detrimental to your health.
Using social media responsibly would be to keep on posting positive messages that make us laugh, that lift our energies and open our hearts to love and compassion. Those are the energies that indeed change our world and have the potential to lift humankind to a higher consciousness. The Internet is a wonderful invention of our time – if we use it in a responsible way.
Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters
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