Does social media cloud our ability to critique world affairs?

Dr. Rudra Sil, professor of political science and co-director of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania, citing Arab Spring as an example, argued that social media distorts our perceptions of international issues. Speaking at The College of William and Mary he warned against oversimplification:

Unemployment had been rising for five years. And yet, when you hear the social media story, that part seems to be kind of forgotten. It all becomes about the corrupt dictator and the people finally finding a voice to overthrow him. Simplified version of the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain did not provide a full picture of what occurred.

Similarly, social media diffusion of the woman raped and beaten to death in New Delhi made the tragedy seem like an exclusively Indian problem, said Sil.

It’s good that social media spotlighted this issue for Indians … but if we really care about rape and stopping violence against women, it’s got to be done on a global scale. Here, social media essentially was pushing us in a different direction.

Instead of rushing to judgment, he emphasized, we need to maintain our tradition of seeking out differing perspectives.

Via Abby Boyle in the Flat Hat

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