“Social media” used to mean talking with your neighbors about something you saw in the paper or on the local evening news. Or what about “chats?” They take place all the time over coffee at the parts counter, across fences, at Sunday dinners or around town; these are in the truest sense of the word, “conversations.”
If someone asks if you’ve done any “posts” today, they probably didn’t mean whether you fixed all the “posts” the heifers knocked down last night. A story from “Tik Tok” isn’t referring to the sound you hear when its quiet in the milking parlor. And if you’re “sharing,” it’s probably not about giving your neighbor extra tomatoes from your garden. You get the picture.
Today, chats, conversations, posts and sharing are the lingo and currency of social media, with most of it a new twist on the traditional schoolhouse meaning. As to whether we are any smarter from the deluge of information from the conversation … well, that’s a topic for another day. But one thing is for sure, there are many points of view being expressed, some based in fact but many in fiction and hyperbole. It’s the Wild West out there.
Take the topic of electrification versus the end of the internal combustion engine (ICE). It plays out like traders barking orders on the New York Stock Exchange floor: Buy! Sell! On one hand, no one can deny the role of ICE and fossil fuels in building and, today, underpinning the entire modern global economy – not to mention getting better all the time with increased efficiency and near-zero emissions.