Raul Freitas

Freedom & Control



We are at a point in time where even millennials are looking old. Those of us who are concerned about the effects of social media on the world’s people think this way because we have lived through times that had no social media, or in the case of millennials, times where social media was merely an interesting game to play.

We now worry about the effects of these platforms on the minds of the young, but it’s of no use. The snowball has grown much too large, and it has now become part of life. Technology has enabled much and disabled just as much. We are all acutely aware that there is as much good that comes from the advance of technology as there is not so good, and just as much that is outright bad. There are already generations that don’t know of a world pre-social media, and so for them, this hullabaloo from the grown-ups is nothing but that. It reminds me of the old days when there were movements against new music like rock & roll, and certain groups, (our age), would equate the genre with evil, labeling it in much the same way many of us label social media today. I can’t imagine what the “boomers” of the sixties would think of Tik Tok and the like, today. Times change, as they always have, for better or for worse. But even after having said all of this, I still think that social media is a totally different animal from anything else that has ever been introduced into the world.

I’m not going to sit here blaming all of our ills on social media, I’m old enough to know that all that we see today, bad and good, is a culmination of what the human experience has been for hundreds of years. What I notice is the absence of much of what I saw to be good in the society I grew up in, especially when it comes to the “social” part. When we had questions, or wanted to discuss something, or tell a story, we spoke to each other face to face. The irony that these platforms are “social media” gets lost on most people. I actually believe that there is almost nothing social about it. In my view, while most may think that they are “connected” when browsing through these platforms, we are, in actuality, very alone and distanced.

While we may feel part of a bigger thing, we are actually exactly like we are; alone, in a room, in front of a computer of some sort. Easy prey.

We convince ourselves that we are part of a large group, and that is why social media is so popular and effective. Now we take our advice from the computer, we form our opinions using the computer. Could this be why we are all so divided these days? How ironic considering how connected we are! We’ve lost our ability to listen to those around us. Who needs them? Our mentor is always in our hand, ready to display what we want to see and hear. We all know that our every move on that keypad is recorded and distributed to interested parties so they can learn more about “what we want”. Better still, they can also “suggest” to us what we may like.

I recall a great friend and mentor of mine referring to the advent of the internet, saying that now people have finally been given the tools to communicate freely with each other across the globe. Now, there was no place to hide for those who wanted to do harm.

Everyone had an equal opportunity to have their say and denounce their oppressors. True, but the gains are for everyone, including those that mean to harm, or cheat. Looking at the state of things today, it seems the other side is getting the most attention, which could also be a good thing, but I get the feeling it’s always a couple of steps ahead, doing its thing, while the rest of us argue about what to do about it. And the youngsters? They don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Fiquem bem,

Raul Freitas/MS


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