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Your McMurray Six On/Six Off

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The Pros and Cons of Social Media

PRO: It’s quick. People with an instant thirst for knowledge can drink from that fount of all wisdom, Wikipedia. Let us all rejoice as we have become smarter and more interesting people.

CON: It is too quick. The time we used to have to roll around a smidgen of information in our brain and examine it from all angles has disappeared. With this speed comes errors, mostly harmless, but not always. Is there anyone among us who hasn’t reacted to a genuine looking piece of information, only to find it to be untrue and spiteful? Morgan Freeman, despite 20,000 reports to the contrary, is not dead.

PRO: It keeps people better informed. The information that is available is insanely mind-blowing. How can you not love that?

CON: We now know a lot more about the Kardashians, not so much about Socratic thought. With an information overload, the first 99 per cent is generally crap.

PRO: It has changed the music industry for the better. The power of the music moguls has all but been destroyed and if musicians want to make a living now they have to tour. Granted the ticket prices are crazy, but at least the live shows are plentiful.

CON: It has changed the book industry for the worse. Publishers and bookstores are going under and the rise of self-publishing means there is no editorial filter anymore. There are so many self-published books out there that trying to find something worthwhile to read is all but impossible.

PRO: Everything is accessible. Libraries as suppliers of information have almost ceased to exist as they respond to social issues instead. Why go and look up something in a book when you can just go online. The world is our educational oyster.

CON: Everything is degradable as well. Because all the information of the world is now in electronic bits and bytes, we are one rather large electromagnetic pulse away from going back to the Stone Age.

PRO: Nothing can be hidden. The argument is that the Holocaust couldn’t happen today as information cannot be stopped. Witness the Arab Spring, for example.

CON: Maybe nothing can be hidden, but it doesn’t seem to be changing the world that much either. People still kill each other with impunity and all the cellphones in the world don’t seem to be able to stop that.

PRO: The social media world educates and connects everyone. That’s a good thing, right?

CON: It connects everyone, which is why your mother was sent 50,000 downloads of your drunken striptease outside the bar. Whether it actually educates people is still up for debate.