I am no different than most of the young adults in my generation. I use social media a lot. Most of it out of habit like checking for a text message or voicemail. And to be honest, I like having the world at my fingertips. I enjoy the information that I can receive at a moments notice. However, I do have one problem with social media. I do not like the power of social media. It amazes and annoys me with a decision is made by certain leaders or groups and a social media outcry creates a need to reevaluate decisions. Social media is a great vehicle for expressing opinions and spreading information, but it should not be influencing our society’s leaders in their decision making.
Ray Rice was the number one story in the news in late August. He got into a domestic altercation with his than fiancé now wife earlier in the year. While I absolutely do not condone domestic violence, Roger Godell, the national football league commissioner, came up with what he thought was an appropriate punishment for the crime. In the following months, more evidence and information came out including a video of the incident. With that newfound information, people took to social media and expressed their disdain for Ray Rice and the punishment he received from the NFL.
It is in the NFL CBA that once a punishment is handed down, it can bot be revisited unless the punished party files an appeal. So why was the punishment raised to an indefinite suspension from two games? My conclusion is that Commissioner Godell saw the public outcry via twitter and Facebook. By seeing what society thought of his decision he changed his mind. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms gave the common fan a chance to be heard.
I think it is dangerous for social media to have that much power. Obviously, its impossible to put any sort of measure on the power or persuasion the “twitterverse” had over the commissioner. But he would have had to hide in a hole or cave to not have any knowledge of all the hate tweets he was receiving daily from all the people especially women in this particular case.
The power of social media is an interesting topic. We have seen social media grow in all facets of its being. Why not social power? I suppose there are certain situations where access to the public opinion is a good thing. Our country is based on the people’s voices being heard. Maybe what this issue has proved is that this is not a social media problem as much as a leadership problem. Going further, I think it is inappropriate for people in important roles such as commissioners of sports leagues, and elected officials to have social media accounts. It puts them too close to the public. I understand most of these people have fan pages to help build their brand but with these highly specialized positions comes a certain level of exclusivity.