Part 1 of 2: Older & Wiser
The internet and social media have done wonders for keeping seniors connected to friends and relatives. That being said, there is also a darker side to it. For instance, when it comes to politics, Facebook isn’t always innocent, civilized or reliable. All political parties and all voters are at the mercy of false or misleading claims which spread faster and farther than truth.
The dark politics of Facebook isn’t about folks telling little white lies or acting as political cheerleaders. It is more sinister than that. Social media has become a haven for political disinformation (deliberate falsehoods) and misinformation (errors). Such false or misleading claims are created by malicious or ignorant sources and then spread by a mixture of overly trusting folks, political extremists, trolls, fake accounts, foreign agitators and artificial bots.
Some of these social media players seem to think that senior citizens are a gullible group who can be easily manipulated to believe and share political lies. However, most seniors didn’t get this far in life without knowing right from wrong. We also know a war on truth and facts when we see one online.
Like the majority within any generation, seniors don’t want our elections to be won or lost on the basis of cheating or lies the internet told us. We are nobody’s fool and we are not about to be used as stooges who allow or spread false political claims.
We, the baby boomer and older generations, are mostly good natured about the “OK, Boomer” teasing on social media. That’s because many of us actually do keep up with the times – including news, politics and technology.
Most seniors were also raised to value truth, integrity and knowledge and to despise dishonesty, cheating and ignorance. As the retired or semi-retired generations, we are well equipped to be champions for political truth and/or fact checking on social media. We have the time, ethics and mature experience to make a difference.
If we want to keep our bragging rights for being older and wiser, then now is the time to prove it in terms of the dark side of social media. Part 2 of this two-part series is about “Political Etiquette Online.” It will cover how anyone can make a difference based on answers to the following questions:• How can we discourage Facebook users from sharing political disinformation or misinformation?• What is involved in political fact checking?• What constitutes a reliable or unreliable source?• How can we inspect the original source of a shared Facebook post?• What is the difference between professional journalism and commentary or opinions?
Written by K. Wood (age 67)