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Social Media & False Sensitisation

The New Era of False Sensitisation:
You Think You Know But You Don’t

Social networking media has its place in development. But education is still essential to train, teach and truly sensitise people about how best to use the technology, about its limitations, advantages, disadvantages. Sensitisation goes beyond a click on an electronic device. It calls for real interest, real thought, and more importantly, DEEPER ACTION.

I was at a conference on ‘Convergence of Politics, Media and Culture’. I remember, during the course of our presentations, that Dr. Alice Stephens asked us if we, as the younger generation, felt sensitised to what was taking place in other countries around the world because of networking sites (or applications) like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogger.

One student said, “Yes”, then proceeded to explain how he was able to receive and share information about the atrocities taking place in other countries via Twitter and Facebook, and how he could “click on links” to help save lives and send money to impoverished nations. Or something like that.

I disagreed. Not only are we not sensitised about what goes on in these other countries, we’ve fallen into a delirium of believing that we are. We believe that putting a poster in the sidebar of our blog is somehow enough proof of our unflailing commitment to humanity and of how aware and ‘sensitised’ we are to global issues. But what I have found is that too often, it’s a brainless decision that leaves us with no REAL sense of the reality others have to live with.

We approach the ‘need for help’ with overzealous myopia. There is a chasm where there ought to be critical and serious thought. Like no other social network I know, Twitter has popularised the concept of following - sans frontieres, often sans mente. And youth often mindlessly take whatever information is shoved their way from mainstream media and reproduce it without a thought. It is, essentially, a BRAINLESS decision.

And that brainlessness does not ever have a place in any serious sensitisation programme. People who are sensitised to an issue must at least THINK about it, must they not?

That’s what false sensitisation does. It gets you comfortably passive, makes you make a lot of noise because you think you know ... Social media has its place. But it must be used hand-in-hand with other, more tested and proven methods of transformation. A tweet cannot take the place of proper, solid research, and a sidebar to click certainly can never replace tangible, expansive and decisive action.

The preceding is an excerpt from an entry on my blog Ruthibelle


vivian's picture


Dear Ruth,

Congratulation for being selected as one of the 2011 VOF. it is an award to be proud of at all times. The task ahead of you is enormous but i believe you are equal to the task. I am indeed very delighted to be attached with you as a past VOF. Though, very busy at this time of the year, i will do my best to always be there to read your post.

You are right to say that social networking is a form of development and education is indeed most important for all social media users since it is more than what we think it is. I really find this post interesting and educative. The young are really the large population to be sensitized on the right information on social network. Well done Ruth, you are good.

All the best


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