Sunday, February 26, 2017

o brave new technological world

how truly social the media?

I meet with middle school parents
to discuss their kids in school,
the school a world of theirs that I understand enough
to applaud the efforts that move forward
and see the glitches that can hold them back,

what I cannot see clearly, though,
is the technological world that calls to them:
the tools we lump together as social media,
a term accurate enough to glimpse
what phones, apps, and choice allow,
then demand,

I hear of multiple devices around a teenager:
a phone, a computer, messages that throw themselves at her,
many throughout the day,
then, while she’s asleep they accumulate,
and are there to demand their time as soon as she’s awake,
connection after connection with friend after friend
as a collective reality emerges and the group comes together
to plan a summer camp experience,

another student uses his phone as video camera
to create stories, to share stories,
to call for volunteers to act out a film noir he is called to make,

I don’t understand such media well-enough
to know when it truly is social media,
a way for real connection: bonding, building,
and when it is more anti-social: tearing apart connections,
using the illusion of building a group
while tearing a young person away
from the grounding each needs,

a tool has no value just because it can,
a tool has great value
when she, when he, wields it in a way
that is true to what can be,
to what should be.

by Henry H. Walker

February 24, ‘17

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