Are you a fan of Lord of the Rings? I’m quite a fan. Read all the books, even The Silmarillion (which I need to read again, to be honest). I loved the movies even though a lot of Tolkien purists had problems with them. I love the story, the different types of figures and characters that take part in the story. I just think it’s all fabulous. So, when it occurred to me that Social Media is like the ring of power, you can imagine how thrilled I was and how excited I was to write this post!
Oh, you want me to explain this a bit more. Fair enough.
Potential for good that can also create great evil
One thing you hear a lot about the ring of power is that it seems to offer the opportunity to change the world in great ways. Wise and good-hearted leaders like Gandalf and Galadriel are tempted to use the ring because they want to use it for good. However, both realize that the sheer power of the ring could easily corrupt them and could make them very dangerous.
Social Media also offers us the great opportunity to improve our world, but what happens as soon as you start getting involved? Oh, you get followers. And fans. And subscribers. And likes. And retweets – which, let’s face it, is just people repeating what you said. Can this power corrupt people? *cough* Weiner *cough*
Different Locations, Different Relations
When Lord Sauron decided to distribute the various rings of power, he gave some to men, some to Dwarves, and some to the Elves. The Elves were an ancient race so they didn’t get too hung up on the whole power issue. Men, of course, were total power-hungry jerks and ended up killing themselves off, essentially. The Dwarves always wanted more and more power, so they kept mining until, essentially, they released wild and ancient hell demons.
Social Media also gives power to different kinds of people in different platforms. On Twitter, for example, you have people who, like men, desire nothing more than power. They’ll enchant you, entangle you, ensnare you, and otherwise en-you until you are under their power. On Facebook, you have the Dwarves who collect friends like there is no tomorrow, and who post so many status updates that all of their fans soon become, well, kind of like ancient hell-demons.
We’ll say LinkedIn is the land of the elves. It’s pretty safe and quiet over there.
Those who are least involved have to undo the big mess
The ring of power can’t just be crushed up by a Dwarf axe or an Elven bow. It needs to be walked all the way to Mount Doom and cast back into the fire from whence it came (otherwise there wouldn’t have been much of a story). It ended up that a hobbit, a member of a race who really had nothing to do with the ring of power, had to be the one to get this job done. The hobbits were the smallest race, perhaps the most isolated from the rest of the world, but they had to clean up the big mess.
Such I fear is also going to be the case with Social Media. Who could destroy Facebook at this point other than Mark Zuckerberg? And no, I’m in no way insinuating that Mark is similar to Lord Sauron. I would never.
If you look at what Social Media is becoming though, it’s hard not to see that it’s kind of getting to be a big mess. We have politicians exposing themselves, cyber-bullying, hacking, and all kinds of icky stuff. Who is going to clean it up? It will very likely have to be a group that is separated from the main push of Social Media – a party objective enough (dare we say pure of heart?) to be able to do what needs to be done to make everyone happy and safe.
How will that all work out? I have no idea.
We hates it and we loves it, preshus
One of the most memorable characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy is Gollum, who holds the ring for centuries. The ring overpowers Gollum’s mind. He worships it but also hates it. He can’t stand it but can’t let it go.
How many times, just today, have you seen people using their blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or some other Social Media platform to talk about how much they hate a particular facet of Social Media? We’re kind of crazy that way, aren’t we? We hate Twitter and it’s so stupid but holy cow don’t take our phones away! We hate what a burden blogging can be but we get kind of sweaty when we don’t post for awhile.
Some of us have even taken to eating raw fish.
What do you think?
So there you have it. Those are some of the reasons why Social Media reminds me of the ring of power. But what do YOU think? Are there other similarities? Am I totally off my rocker? I mean, about this? Let’s talk about it!
Image by Bethany Carlson. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bewinca