Oh Social Media. Though art the darling of the technologistas of the new millenium. You are also their curse though they do not know it yet.
The problem with Social Media is that it breaks complex thoughts down into bite sized nuggets. These nuggets are then passed around as if they are profound and tantalizing truths. People forget that only 1 or 2 people a generation are remembered for being able to convey abstract ideas and philosophies through simple, easily remembered sayings. Confucius, Einstein, Franklin.
What most of us in this world need is critical thinking: the ability to read a thought and then put it into appropriate context without assigning more value to the thought than it deserves. Just because a tweet is retweeted 1 million times doesn’t mean it holds long-term value. But it does prove that a lot of people agree in the short-term. Cleverness is also not the same as profound truth. Newspaper headlines follow the same behavior – their goal is to get a reader to read an article (buy a paper) and not to convey a fact. The article exists precisely because a headline cannot contain the full story.
This takes me to my main point: critical thinking is something we should practice daily. A 1 hour sales pitch rarely conveys the way a business truly would work with you. Five 1 hour pitches probably don’t either. Extrapolation and inference are weapons you must sharpen and keep with a keen edge. These are the only tools available to ensure you are applying appropriate context to any situation or story. Taking statements literally can be an easy way to find yourself exactly where you do not want to be.