Social media have their good points . . . I suppose.
However, I consider it to be a mostly negative influence on our national mood, not to mention the quality of our political discourse.
Whatever the medium — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google . . . whatever — social media has become the wave of the present, never mind the future.
I want to look briefly at Twitter.
Entertainment and sports celebrities, and politicians fire these messages out via Twitter. Occasionally they regret them immediately. Given the nature of Twitter, though, an “immediate” retraction isn’t quick enough. Whatever it is these folks say via Twitter goes out in a serious nano-second jiffy. Boom! Gone! Just like that!
I laugh out loud when I read how those celebrities and pols take down their comments immediately. I want to yell:
Too late, sucker! It’s out there! You lose!
Do you remember when Donald Trump fired off that tweet that concluded with that non-word, “covfefe”? The White House took it back, except that it’s still the subject of comedians’ punchlines.
The late Claude Duncan was a dear friend and colleague, as well as a brilliant writer and thinker. He once told me that you “cannot unhonk the horn.” He didn’t envision social media when he offered me that bit of wisdom.
However, that statement never has been truer than it has become since the arrival of social media.
Perhaps that explains why the president of the United States — the unofficial Twitter Maven in Chief — never takes anything back. The most outrageous statements that flew into cyberspace from his Twitter account remain out there. They are uncorrected. He doesn’t pull ’em back. He says these things and, well . . . that’s it! Take it or leave it!
That doesn’t excuse the president’s bizarre use of that social medium to get his message out there. However, I suppose his reluctance to take anything back is a harsh realization that what flies out there is, um, out there for keeps.