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Kimbrough: 'We've stopped talking to each other'

Kimbrough: 'We've stopped talking to each other'

President Walter Kimbrough, speaking at Clemson's Martin Luther King Commemoration

Social media has become a divisive force, promoting isolation and animosity among Americans, said Dillard University President Walter M. Kimbrough, speaking at Clemson University's Commemorative Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

"The social media sphere creates communities in one regard but it lessens our ability to engage each other face to face in the real world," Kimbrough said, speaking at Clemson's Brook Center on Tuesday. "We are desensitized to feelings and we easily damage relationships, and we can be just downright mean and nasty."

Kimbrough said King, writing in 1967, foresaw how technology would make the world smaller, increasing tension.

Kimbrough quoted King's book, "Where Do We Go From Here?": "All inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors. This worldwide neighborhood has been brought into being largely as a result of modern scientific and technology revolutions."

The recent "very contentious election season" exhibited social media's negative influence on public discourse, Kimbrough said.

Social media, with its ease and semi-anonymity, encourages impulsive and uncivil comments, he said. Online posts often serve as "anger-fueled intoxications that provide a quick high," Kimbrough said.

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