IT’S timely, relevant, important.
GMA News’ “Think Before You Click” campaign is probably the best (or only?) media literacy campaign on the digital life which — I daresay — can even save lives. It advocates responsible use of social media — an attitude critical in a time when information dissemination at a personal level is already quick and easy.
The Economist described our times well: with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and now Google+ enters the scene), the world is back to the coffee house of 1700s America. Information is floating in the din of the pub; sometimes nobody knows where the information comes from, but it’s there, free for redistribution.
“Think Before You Click” simply reminds social media users to be wary about what they post on their bulletins or feeds; the information they post just might be used to harm them. Think the forgetful, grumpy employee who badmouths the boss who happens to be one of his Twitter followers. And the trigger-happy lass who takes photos of her house and posts it on Facebook, available for public ogling by robbers and kidnappers. Sad.
But that’s just one side of the campaign. “Think Before You Click” is primarily a reminder against unfair and maleficent use of social media. What do you do to a tweet informing you about an acquaintance’s supposed scandalous misdeed? RT? Indeed, people now should also get the ideal journalist’s nose for truth. One has to measure the veracity of tweets first before retweeting them, especially when they are about people — and especially when one has hundreds of followers. And we’re talking about information on private people here, non-celebs who have no claim to nor dream of fame, ordinary people who want to be let alone.
One big minus to GMA News’ campaign, however, is its inclusion of Carlos Celdran as a model of responsible social media use. While a talented person, Mr. Celdran is among the most rabid anti-Catholic social media users, some of whose tweets and retweets were far from fair to the people involved.
Then again, we as ordinary news consumers, should also throw back the “think before you click” mantra at GMA News and other members of the “media elite” (thanks to Arnel Endrinal for the term): Think before you click “Publish”. And, especially when your piece is so “explosive” that certain actually-important details might have disappeared into the background, think twice.