Erin Prysiazny

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Do you believe that social media has influenced the credibility of our words?

For example, someone passes away and then gets hundreds of posts on their wall saying rest in peace, saying how they wished they knew them, or how they miss them so much. Can we trust the credibility in this? Or assume people are looking to be awarded with "likes" and encouragement since it shows they are "caring"?

In my opinion, I feel like the things people write in public space (i.e. your wall) makes your words far less credible because it's not a personal message between you and someone else, it's for the whole world to see. Am I wrong to think this?

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    Feb 1 2013: I feel like social media has opened up a new dimension of communication. Before social networking sites began popping up on the internet, we communicated mainly through face-to-face conversation, telephone calls, and handwritten (or typed) letters. But now that we've harnessed the power of the internet, we have become accustomed to exchanging ideas with our peers instantly.
    With this breakthrough in communication, there comes several advantages and disadvantages. Some might feel more comfortable engaging in conversation when they don't have to be seen doing the action; others might feel as though what they say on the internet cannot necessarily be traced back to them, therefore they get the sense that they will be held unaccountable for what they post online. There are also those who use social media with the same mindset as they would real-life situations: they post only what they truly believe and are willing to back up anything they say if confronted by someone else.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is, the credibility of one's words is dependent on how accurate of a portrayal one's posts online are to what they truly believe.
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    Feb 1 2013: you're right, it may be a reason to some people to do it, but not for all. believe it or not, even though lots of people crave "likes" and attention, some just don't care about that stuff.
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    Feb 10 2013: Erin, I often witness this with engagements I participate in on various social network platforms. I think as participants we feel obligated to recognize birthdays and emotional losses. Facebook, for example, emails reminders of a birthday, and shows a brief "Reply" invitation on the sidebar. I sometimes wonder if tools exist to use these cues to initiate an auto-reply.
    For that reason, I frequently offer condolences or celebratory greetings in person or at least in private message. That may not be wholly personal, but I feel it presents much less appearance of a robo-reply.
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    Feb 2 2013: I am not certain that it is the social media that causes a loss of credibility but those that abuse the tool. Stories of people who have posted lies about serious medical issues or being involved in natural disasters in order to garner sympathy and donations are detrimental to those stories that are based in fact. People get tired of being burned and become skeptical of all stories.

    We live in an age of doubt. Historical events once accepted as fact are now being questioned such as the Holocaust and man landing on the moon. There are groups that post their skepticism on current news stories such as school shootings in America.

    It is becoming more and more difficult to determine what is truth and what is fiction even in this age of information.
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    Feb 2 2013: Beckett said: "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness." But he also said: "Words are all we have."
    I do not like any shade of gray but maybe in this case truth is in the middle. Words are a bridge and a bridge can be solid or crumbling... It's not what we write that matters but what makes us writing: a kind of hunger. With technology we are living a second 'industrial revolution' and this new way of communication is at the same time scaring and fascinating.
    Yes, it's also a monument to global loneliness and the death of those small, dirty, smokey coffee shop where you would sit and chat to anyone.
    This said: we can choose, we can still choose between words and silence, FaceBook and TED, clicking on the thumb up or ignore it.
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    Feb 1 2013: I agree with you. Social media has its numerous advantages; and the disadvantages are not few.
    It makes showy and insincere expressions of affection or care seem believable. People may become too sucked into the online world and mistake it for the real one. For example, during the Joseph Kony campaign many people clicked 'like' on facebook when any message condemning the man is posted; and the video about him was retweeted again and again. But in sincerity, how many of those really care about Uganda or Africa? People think that they click 'like' and retweet stuff and then their voices against Rape, Malaria, oppression, injustice etc has been heard.

    When you love someone, or something, or when you are dedicated to a cause, you show it. Dont just say it, becasue with words even dictators call themselves democrats; and corrupt leaders lay claim to transparency.
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    Feb 1 2013: Yep. I like the example of the one who passed away. I went to a funeral about a year ago ... the kid was shot in a drug deal that went wrong ... was a gang member ... even beat up his mom .. a quick picture, but you get the idea. Not used as the community role model.

    During the talks I had the urge to get up and look in the casket to see if I was at the wong service. For years everyone called the cops ... cussed his name .... but at the service he was a good kid. I know the services are for the living ... but these were total lies and distortions.

    We see it in the workplace, in the community, etc ... Social media is just a larger version of what happens in the family and locally.

    On TED as I read a conversation I can go to about ten name and read their comments as I consider "the source" and accept their arguments. I may not agree with it .. but it is honest and straight forth. Then there are some names I see that I avoid as argumentive, biased, and opinionated. I give them little attention and usually just scan their comments it it fits the pattern I skip the rest.

    One of my TED pet peeves is people who do not state a name or location. It is like social media ... I have no face, accept no responsibility, and I am here to screw with the system ... enter the bully and the coward.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Feb 1 2013: You are vary right my friend. And is especially prevalent in my age group, the youth of today. And it seems to be even seeping over into are physical interactions with others. Were you need to take a grain of salt with people all the time and the only people you can know aren't bullshitting are your close friends. I feel like when my parents were young that they didn't have to worry about this sort of thing, they could take most peoples comments as truth. But because there even just more people in general around, there's more opportunity to hide behind not only facebook or twitter, but that if you piss someone off. There are hundreds of other people who can replace that person. So to brake it down, social media had made people more shallow but the fact that there's more people to interact with means relationships with people aren't as important so people feel they can bullshit more often.