Social media can be harmful to a functioning democracy, but it has the potential to be helpful — and where it lands has less to do with the technology than how it’s used, according to three University of Michigan business experts.
As the midterm election draws near, Stephen M. Ross School of Business faculty members Ethan Kross, Marcus Collins and Mohamed Mostagir discussed why social media is such a powerful force in society, how social platforms can spread misinformation, how social media companies could act more responsibly and ultimately how the industry affects our democracy.
Kross, professor of management and organizations, said learning how to navigate in the online world is key, just as in the physical world.
“I’m a parent. The first thing I do with my kids is teach them how to navigate spaces, how to talk to people, where to go, what to say, when to do this versus that,” he said.
“We haven’t had that kind of collective knowledge for navigating social media. I think we’re developing it. But we need to be mindful of the fact that there is the potential dark side, and I think we need to do everything we can to stay away from that.”