The World Does Not Need Your OpinionSocial Media

Chris Smith
June 20, 2020

Social media can be an amazing tool, but instead, we've just created a bunch of tools who think the world can't survive without their opinions.

Yes, I realize the potential hypocrisy of writing an opinion piece with the above title, especially when this article will undoubtedly be shared on several social media platforms in order to amplify its voice. But I had a bit of an epiphany the other day that I thought was worth writing about.

I got my Facebook account during my first year at NC State. I added Twitter and LinkedIn, followed by Instagram. Years later, I downloaded Snapchat.

I took a break from the gram for a while but eventually came back. Twitter has always been pretty feast or famine for me. LinkedIn always seemed like a necessity as a professional, but never really provided any value.

We All Have Growing Pains

As I've grown up, these platforms have grown, too. They started to realize the power they held in the data they had been collecting for years on their users. They turned that data into valuable insights and targeting options for advertisers. Advertisers started funneling the bulk of their marketing dollars into these platforms because of the staggering success of the campaigns.

Growing Pains

And while all this was going on behind-the-scenes, new generations were growing up with social media platforms as a standard part of life, much the way a previous generation grew up with personal computers.

Just like personal computers, the social media revolution came with its pros and cons. People were able to share information more easily than ever, connect with like-minded individuals in groups, and gain easier access to breaking news stories. Along with those benefits came the scam artists, the "influencers," and the perception that everyone's opinion is valuable and needs to be shared.

Opinions Are Like A**holes...

You've probably heard that phrase before, maybe even from your dad, like I did. As I've gotten older, that statement becomes more and more valid. Everyone has an opinion, and most of them stink. Yet, the "Age of Social Media" has convinced the bulk of a generation (and counting) that the world is thirsty for their opinion and that they are doing a disservice to the world by not sharing every inane thought that bounces around their heads.

I've fallen into this trap myself. Looking back through my past tweets, I'm sure there are things I've said that didn't need to be said, opinions that didn't age well, or any number of things. But that's the point. Why share something when you don't need to?

Just People Screaming Into the Void

"The internet's not like a real conversation. It's just a bunch of people screaming into the void." While recently watching an episode of Grace and Frankie, I heard this line and it really struck me.

Grace and Frankie

The truth is, there's very little "conversation" on social media platforms. It really is just people shouting their opinions from rooftops and then other people shouting back from their rooftops. No one really hears each other, or is really there to listen. They're all just there to share their opinion as loudly as possible.

What is the value in that? How can we grow and learn if we're not willing to listen to each other, to try our best to see things from someone else's perspective? You can't.

And that's why we're here. That's why Andre and I do this. This is our way of sharing our opinions while also having a conversation.

We come from different backgrounds, have had different life experiences, and often see a different path forward as the best option. But we're willing to listen to each other, to learn, to grow. And that's what we all need right now. To listen. To learn. To grow.

What's the Solve?

To be honest, I don't know that there is a solve. Maybe we've reached the point of no return with social media, where it's become so ingrained in our everyday lives that we wouldn't know what to do without a rooftop to shout from.

But maybe, just maybe, humanity can be saved from itself, yet again. I think if we took the time to eliminate commentary from reactions from social media platforms, we'd start to see the true value that they possess. Let's focus on the ability to amplify people's messages, to share information across the globe in an instant, and to learn and grow from other people's experiences.

Of course, that's just one man's opinion.