A Responsible Future for SocialMedia

Title: Let's design social media that drives real change

Speaker: Wael Ghonim


Length: 14 minute

The opening:

Do you remember the Arab Spring? It seems so long ago, but it turns out it was less than 5 years ago. I say only 5 years because I have lived in America, but I expect it has felt like much longer for the people who live in many of these nations. Mr. Ghonim starts with some interesting discussion of the rise and fall of the Arab Spring, and the roll of social media.

7:53 - An important look at a group of online behaviors that I think we all demonstrate to some extent. I have long fought the impulse to ‘unfriend’ or remove dissenting opinions from my news feed.

9:44 - An inspiring look at how we can improve our interactions in the online environment. I hope to be more thoughtful in how I post and more balanced between broadcasts and creating space for thought and/or conversation. 

A thought I had:

The online environment continues to be so new to our civilization that I am not surprised that it has caused many problems. It is something that we couldn’t be prepared for or taught how to use responsibly because there was no historical wisdom anyone could share. I am hopeful that we are nearing a turning point in how to more positively wield this tool, and understand how it is effecting and affecting our lives.

One aspect of the problem:

"I know for a fact that if I write a most that is more sensational, more one-sided, sometimes angry and aggressive, I get to have more people see that post. I will get more attention” (10:45).

A more positive future:

“Couldn’t we just give more people incentive to engage in conversations rather than just broadcasting all the time?” (11:12) “And also, make it socially acceptable that we change our minds, or probably even reward that” (11:25).
“...reward thoughtfulness, civility, and mutual understanding” (12:13).

Ahh, back to a world where people are encouraged to admit when they are wrong and 

Moving Forward:

To me, the key ideas for the future include:
    1) Designing a “social media experiences that promote civility and reward thoughtfulness”.
    2) Considering the language or rhetoric we use when we write in order to avoid confirming other peoples biases and only engaging likeminded people. 
    3) Finding ways to fact check information that becomes popular and is being spread.