Civility Week at Brookdale Community College, October 17-21, 2022
Imagine Social Media Conscience
Social media allow us to interact with others, becoming part of global communities in ways previously unknown in history. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok are shaping collective perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world. Social media creators and users often establish and maintain positive connections through these platforms. Such affiliations and affirmations can contribute to a sense of community and a greater common good.
However, there are increasing concerns regarding the practices of social media platforms and their effects. Manipulative algorithms and anonymous bots present the information we see in the form of user-specific clickbait intended to influence users’ actions. User data is collected and sold, and users are carefully guided by predictive analytics to increase engagement and profit. Furthermore, social media frequently disseminate misinformation, hate speech, and violent political ideas which enter the mainstream, threatening civility and democracy.
In light of this complex situation, there are urgent calls for regulation for platform transparency and the right to privacy, without compromising free speech. In this regard, forms of civil discourse and rational deliberation, in national and global contexts, allow for the critique of the harmful societal effects associated with social media. Moreover, civility—in behavior, action, and policy—provides the foundations for the reconstruction of the values of democracy in this emergent landscape of social interaction here and around the world.
Brookdale Community College is dedicating a week to consider issues relating to civility including topics in, but not limited to, the following contexts: the classroom, business, politics, international affairs, history, art and culture, personal relationships, online spaces, and stranger-to-stranger interactions.
- Engagement with diverse cultures, communities, lifestyles, and identities
- Conflict Resolution
- Civil Discourse
- Self-Awareness and Social Awareness
- Effective Communication
- Empathy and Active Listening
- Nurturing Health and Well-Being
- Celebrating Shared Values and Interdependence for the Common Good
Join the conversation and seek responses to the following questions that will be discussed during Civility Week.
- How can we, as members of a democracy in the broadest sense, direct our social media conscience and our collective future?
- What are the imperatives for a social media conscience that would sustain civil discourses and actions?
- What are the roles of governments, businesses, civil society, and global organizations in the future of a civil and ethical social media landscape?
Brookdale’s Civility Statement: “Brookdale Community College is committed to freedom of expression while maintaining a civil and ethical learning environment. We believe that a community composed of people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and abilities promotes learning and engagement. We are responsible for treating one another with respect and kindness regardless of our differences.”