In short, the more trendy and widespread the socia-media freakout becomes, the more cautiously we should react, and the more we should try to remind ourselves what we like about social media, and what about them is worth preserving. Recent history suggests that a balanced pro-and-con assessment of today’s frightening embodiment of the modern is usually more helpful in crafting long-term, reformist solutions than mere hysterics and self-pity.
Social media have become a growing source of personal anxiety in recent months, yet I try to remember that neither I nor the class of people I represent as a political journalist embody the entirety (or even a representative sample) of social-media users. Nor does my personal discomfort with some of the obnoxious uses of Facebook, Twitter, etc. I frequently encounter necessarily serve as sufficient proof that the medium itself is more flawed than the human user on the other end. Social media can inflame personal demons of sloth, anger, pride, and envy, but it cannot create them any more than McDonald’s created gluttony or Playboy created lust.