If there’s one thing the war in Ukraine has taught us recently, it’s that unfiltered access to critical information is helpful and even life-altering.
Like many of you, I’ve watched videos showing missile drops and other atrocities. I’ve also read countless posts, most of them using the hashtag #ukraineThese videos provide an important perspective on the destruction.
These people aren’t anonymous and faceless victims, they live in underground shelters. Many refugees are arriving in neighboring countries, including little children who have gathered at bus stations.
You might even say, after this exposure to the destruction and mayhem we’ve seen on Twitter and other platforms, there’s no going back.
Social media has changed yet again, and now it’s time to start applying some of the lessons we’re learning in real-time to the platforms as a whole.
As the war continues, we know this unfiltered access is critical to understanding what is happening on the ground, and it is helping all of us see that the Russian invasion is impacting the Ukrainian people in ways we’ve never seen in recent memory.
Let’s just look at the past 10 years. Apps like Twitter were born without much hype. It was a simple matter of sharing what we had for lunch, and our plans for the next day. This became something that we could all enjoy for a time.
Five or six years back, I can recall a handful of friendly discussions. Unfortunately, platforms fell apart a couple of years ago as trolls began to rant at users, argue constantly and critique people for small differences in opinion.
There’s no time for any of that now. When I’m on Twitter or Facebook these days, I often start with #ukraine in my search bar and then try to get up-to-speed.
I’m not as interested in the glossy reports and summaries, or the endless debates, but I typically try to find real people posting about what life is like during the invasion, how people around the world can help, and also what the citizen journalists have to say about the actual military advancements and battles.
This kind of genuine social media is something that has been part and parcel of our daily lives for many years. However, since this latest Russian aggression has only recently become more apparent. It is the largest military operation I have ever witnessed, or even in this troll-infested age on social media.
Strangely, my social media feeds just look DifferentThese days there is more Civil.
There is still a lot of misinformation. Recently, I saw a video posted to Twitter. However, I later discovered that it wasn’t from the current year. It seems that hate and outright vitriol towards one another, often about religion or politics, has shifted. The real “hate” and aggression is not online at all; it’s at the hands of the Russian military operation.
My searches show that most posts focus on helping people in Ukraine, and not personal attacks. You can’t ignore the current arc of social media, since it has taken a decided turn toward exposing the conflict for what it is, providing a platform for the victims. If only “helping people” became the norm.
I am asking myself how can we maintain such civility. It won’t be easy, but the trolls are now in hiding. What happens to those who use social media for good purposes or in ways that make them more valuable?