It seems with each passing day that we live in age of social media. As computers and smart phones get cheaper, more of us around the world choose to talk to each other through online websites and applications. The year 2011 was something of a “Twitter year” around the world, where democracy activists and anti-government forces rallied throughout Middle Eastern dictatorships, organizing their moves with the help of social media networks. This was in marked contrast to us Americans, who seem to use these magnificent communication tools to show our friends what we’re eating for lunch, what music we’re listening to or what we really think of a video some dude shot of a cat drinking out of a toilet.
Regardless of our motives, social media is fun. There’s a rebellious, secret club aspect to looking at Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. In fact, it’s becoming so fun and pervasive that our state’s Senate has decided to do what legislative bodies do best: publish a mind-numbing four-page policy governing the use of social media networks by senators and Senate officials.
“The recent growth of social media use to communicate with government officials and organizations underscores the importance for government agencies to incorporate social media services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) as integral components to governments’ overarching communication initiatives,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui in a Dec. 29 Senate email. “At the same time, it is equally vital that we, as agencies and representatives, harness the potential of these tools in the most appropriate and responsible manner. That’s what this policy guides us to do.”
Appropriate and responsible–these are two of the last words that should enter any discussion of social media. Social media is popular simply because the vast majority of material found there is inappropriate and irresponsible. Look at Tsutsui’s own use of Twitter, for instance (click here for his Twitter account). It is entirely appropriate and responsible: his account shows zero Tweets, five followers and zero people that the senator has chosen to follow.
Isn’t it a bit odd that the senator who talks about the “importance” of social media doesn’t actually use it?
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