It’s very difficult for me to conceptualize media without associating it with some variance of a “social” aspect. I think that’s the very nature of media. Before we had opportunities to click “share” buttons on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, people were sharing physical, tangible forms of media via word-of-mouth and around the dinner table. As a small child, I can recall my parents and grandparents rallied around a large table, having a heated discussion about “X” or “Y.” To consume information, I have fond memories of my elders watching a nightly news program. I think the only difference between then and now is that we’ve eliminated the need for ugly furniture to gather around to share our opinions or know what’s going on in the world. I also think that legacy forms of “social” and “media” didn’t offer much diversity of opinion, as we were gathered around a group of people most likely to reflect values of our own.
I think that for communication, and especially international communication, social networking sites enable us to broader our horizons and incorporate ideas we wouldn’t otherwise consider. There is that other side to social media, though: The side that allows us to pick and choose from where and from whom we receive our information. There’s also another argument against social media. The one that purports that social media does nothing more than make the once-never-mentioned at the front and center of thought. I think this graphic best depicts my argument.
However, I wholly believe that the scales tip more in favor of opinion diversity, than of cherry-picking where we receive information or polluting news feeds with irrelevant, insipid thought. But I digress back to my point that media has always been attached to some form of “social” aspect.