Author Topic: Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 2  (Read 9274 times)

Joe Carillo

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After expressing outrage last week over the toxic levels of hate, impunity, illogic, misinformation, and disinformation on Facebook and Twitter in the current Philippine presidential campaign, I’m taking up this time some norms for doing social media posts clearly, truthfully, methodically, convincingly.

Let’s agree first on the very basic tenet for social media postings—convince the audience that the premise of the post is truthful and valid. The premise or claim has to be clearly stated grammatically and clearly, with the poster doing his or her best to present the reason or evidence to prove it.

How does this tenet work in practice?

Take a look at this charming and intriguing claim printed on my wife’s favorite coffee cup that has a smiling tabby cat as mascot: “If cats could talk, they wouldn’t.” We might sneer, scoff, or laugh at such an unlikely and—truth to be told—impossible prospect, but who can resist the temptation of needlessly pondering such an outcome when one has the temperament, time, patience, leisure, and assured income to dwell on it? (Some actually get away with this very often on both Twitter and Facebook.)

I actually did come up with several hilarious consequences of cats being able to talk like humans, but I can share here no more than just this one—that cats won’t dare exercise that ability because they don’t have a long enough tongue and vocal chord and the girth and brain size and stamina to be ever on equal footing with humans on that score.

Now let me show you an outrageous thing that an overenthusiastic Facebook denizen did last January 29 to campaign for a Philippine presidential candidate. She posted this photo montage with this built-in headline (in Pilipino), “Noted economists, believe and support Robredo,” with the candidate’s half body shot and the mugshots of four economists identified as “The Aquino Legacy”:

The montage segued to this January 22 post by another Facebook denizen that captioned it with this grammatically faulty, ill-considered, badly thought-out claim that ultimately made this nonsensical assertion about how hard the candidate in the photo is working for the country’s economic welfare: “It’s no joke that the country’s four most respected Economists [sic] are Leni Robredo alone [sic] forcing to come up with an exact plan on how to lift the sad [sic] Economy today if he [sic] is the elected President.”

At this point there’s no arguing with the caption’s thesis because it’s tough to figure out what it’s actually saying, but the post clearly has no solid basis for its sweeping assertion that the luminaries in the montage are “the country’s four most respected Economists…” I have checked three current rosters of accomplished Filipino economists (Wikipedia and others) and they show that only Prof. Solita Monsod makes that distinction. On this basis alone, the photo montage and its caption both fall ignominiously flat on their faces.
For sheer effrontery and dishonesty, however, few among the many posts I’ve browsed on Facebook and Twitter recently would beat the gall of this image post on Facebook last January 27:

Those who have watched Boy Abunda’s TV interview of Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos can confirm that the latter never made that false utterance in response to the TV host’s leading question separately asked all of the candidates he interviewed: “I really don’t engage in negative campaigning. I have troll farms to do that for me.” He did say the first sentence in his defense, but the second sentence (italicization mine) is pure canard from that Facebook poster’s inflamed imagination.”

The young lady campaigner got carried away, blatantly violating the norm for truthfulness demanded not only by social media platforms but by civilized society in general: “Don’t invent and so publicly put words in somebody else’s mouth and expect to get away with it.”

(Next week: Doing more truthful, rational, and responsible social media posts - 3)   February 3, 2022

This essay, 2083rd of the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the February 3, 2022 Internet edition of The Manila Times, ©2022 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

Read this essay in my column in The Manila Times:
Doing more truthful, rational, responsible social media posts - 2

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« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 10:24:59 AM by Joe Carillo »