In the 1960’s, we got our news from the three networks, we saw only what the three networks broadcast, whatever the managing editor of the evening news chose to show. The executive producer was the censor and the arbiter of what was reported, just as the editor of the newspaper chose which still photographs were published. The networks and the newspapers were in the business of earning a profit for their stockholders as much as they were in the business of presenting the news and informing the public. They were driven by the interests of their advertisers as much as they driven by the interests of their viewers and readers. In the 2020’s, we don’t get our news from the three networks, there is no executive producer to filter what we see and hear.
Social media policies, and those who create and enforce them, are now the “executive producers” and “editors” of what we see and hear. They may not have chosen this role when the platforms were created, but they must accept the responsibility for the influence the platforms carry.
A valuable lesson I learned as an aspiring administrator was “Never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel or paper by the ton.” They determine what is seen and heard by the public, and thus, how opinions are shaped. And you will always lose those arguments.
With great power to influence comes great responsibility. We know that as educators, working daily with captive audiences of young minds. We have the power to create and nurture dreams, to shape lives. We take it very seriously.
Hopefully, others with great power to literally take lives away take it seriously as well.
And so it goes.