Thursday, April 18, 2013

Social Media, the Old Guard, and the New Order

Good morning. I'm Chihuahua Zero, one of the two new teen operatives, and I'll like to thank the whole YA Confidential team for inviting me.

Now on to the post.

This school year, no less than two social media incidents happened in my district. Both at the middle school. Both made local news, and let’s say that one of them resulted in parents, like mine, keeping their children home for a day.

Ten years ago, neither of these incidents would have even occurred. Back in 2003, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube didn't exist. The Internet was a much smaller place. Not everyone had a cell phone or an electronic tablet, and 4G seemed decades away.

Yet, in less than ten years, the electronic landscape has changed faster than anyone could've predicted. Internet culture has helped society, but at the same time, it introduces new problems: cyberbullying, cybervigilantism, illegal cybering, e-piracy, and politicians who probably don't know all of these terms.

Without the doubt, we teenagers have a large role when it comes to these benefits and problems.

Recklessness and Savvy 

In general, we teenagers have a smaller sense of judgement and yet a larger sense of technology savvy. Combine these two skills, and we’re opening more doors than adults can close.

For the most part, adults are doing their best to keep everything Internet-related under control. Even before the incidents, my school made a big deal educating us about the dangers of cyberbulling. They did it through announcements, assemblies, and anything else. Besides, cyberbullying hasn't been a common phenomenon until recently, and there’s ample reason to be concerned.

I mean, the school district sent in cyber detectives to investigate who might’ve been responsible for the second incident. That’s a term even I was unfamiliar with until recently.

Innovation and Caution 

Throughout history, there’s been two major sides with every major change: the new order and the old guard.

The new order’s job is to advance its cause and establish it as the status quo. The old guard’s job is to make sure the new order doesn't go too far and screw up.

While we like to think that the new order is always right, even the most rightful causes had its radical fringes (I've done the research), and some change sometimes turns out to be wrong all along, so without some resistance, we would be whiplashing back and forth all the time and get little done.

With social media, the new order’s mostly full of those under 25 years old, and the old guard are full of those over 25.

It’s too late for the old guard to revert social media to what it was ten or fifteen years ago. It will take a scenario out of a dystopian novel, and then something that wouldn't pass as fiction. So the old guard’s job now is to keep it in check, without passing something like SOPA again.

Cooperation and Hope

Okay, allow me to be a little dramatic.

We teens of the new order and the adults of the old order must cooperate together to solve the problems social media and the Internet created.

We must be on the same level. We must compromise between chaos and order, since either extreme will set us back. Many movements have harmed society in the past, and we don't want the Internet Age becoming a full-circle revolution.

For the old guard, it’s listening to the new older and using its authority when suitable. For the new order, it’s to keep caution in mind, reporting the more malicious members, and consider the old guard’s concerns, both valid and invalid.

Ideally, no more social media incidents will happen in my school district for the rest of the year. We don't want it escalating to blood and tears.

Unfortunately, chances are that something will happen again, but that’s a side effect of change; change that has already benefited humankind, and will continue to.

YOUR TURN! What's your position on how we should handle social media?

Also, what's your general philosophical stance when it comes to change? Fan of the old guard, the new order, or a mix of both?

Chihuahua Zero's computerized signature.


Afternote:

I pray for the people and families hurt because of the Boston marathon bombings, and I hope that justice will be reached.

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