I see positive aspects as well as some negatives in the polarized social media exchanges. I will start with the positive aspects: Social media has revolutionized how we learn about the world around us. Those who would never find coverage in main-stream media find a medium to put their story or narrative out there. Some of us learn from diverse views of the same situation. Often pictures and videos posted by individuals living in conflict zones are our only source of information; As often, The oppressive majoritarian rulers allow only the propaganda material in the mainstream news channels. Social media also helps us see the humanity of the "other side". Also, it empowers the common folks with access to the basic internet as it allows them the opportunity to express themselves and reach greater audiences.
However, often the toxic exchange is shocking. It exposes the unimaginable brutal nature of the man-kind. Often propaganda in the form of fake or provocative news can increase the polarisation. As an immigrant, I some-times, am shocked by some comments and posts of individuals from my country of origin. It is not the same culture as the one that I had known when I was growing up.
This link also directed me towards Richard Horton's offline contribution 'The Ethical darkness of global health'. which is a wonderful read.
Thanks for this opportunity to express some of my thoughts!
Shabina Hussain, MPH
HIFA profile: Shabina Hussain is an independent global health consultant and is based in the USA. Professional interests: Maternal & Child Health, Family Planning, Reproductive & Sexual Health, women's rights, survival of girl child, poverty eradication, Prevention of Infectious diseases. hussain.shabina AT gmail.com