Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and found yourself getting more and more frustrated with a certain person or group of people and subsequently Tweet or post something that you- at the time – think nothing of? I know I have.
When using Social Media we need to remember that every Tweet; every Facebook status has implications that could possibly harm or affect someone in some way. What we, as people who use these websites every day and who take them for granted, fail to understand is that there are people behind the keyboards who are indeed affected by what we say; and if you say something harmful, it will eventually make its way back to you. Most of the time these responses are nothing but spur of the moment jabs or jokes meant to lower the importance or impact of the original message. But occasionally someone says something that truly effects the feelings others, and the responses they receive – often by third party social media users – end up destroying their lives.
I’ll give you an example as to how some people use social meadia (mainly Twitter these days) to try and hurt or in someway degrade others. The example is personal.
Ex-Prime-Minister Margaret Thatcher had just passed away and like many people who were unfortunately too young to have seen her in her PM days but nevertheless liked/admired her strong personality, I tweeted my sympathies and expressed my condolences to her family; because lets face it, she was a kind of important figure in our country. A certain ‘comedian’ (i’ll use the word extremely loosely as he isn’t in the slightest bit funny) and I wont mention his name, lets just call him ‘Vonnie Jagas’ Tweeted a few hateful remarks at Mrs Thatcher and somehow my @name managed to wiggle its way in to one of them.
I’m not sure if everyone on here is aware on the ‘wild-fire’ way in which tweets from morons with large audiences make their way swiftly around the website, so i’ll give you an idea. Seconds. I had to wait just seconds before the first ‘what a stupid little southern Tory Bullingdon Club w*****’ message seeped its way to my mention page. Needless to say dozens more made their way to me over the following hour and then people began commenting on those and it very quickly snowballed in to quite a hilarious (and might I say rather Northern dominated) mess.
But you see this is where people like myself differ from those who unfortunately have their lives ruined by simple-minded ‘keyboard warriors’ (or cowards as I prefer to refer to call them). I take it very well and try my utmost not to feed the flames. I might correct them by saying that I was never in fact a member of the Bullingdon Club and would never condone such an establishment for their utter ignorance and for thinking that they are above the rest of us. Yes, I am a Tory; yes, I am from the south; but I grew up in a modest background and attended a very average school.
I try to do what everyone else in that position should. Ignore them. Because it’s only those who feel the need read every comment and get offended by every remark who will feel the full force of its hate. If you ignore them, they will disappear; you’ll never have to see them again. Bullies have a very short attention span.
Some people however don’t take my obviously Yoda-like advice…
I’m currently reading a book by the author Jon Ronson called ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ in which Mr Ronson tells the stories of a few people who have been directly effected by Social Media and in some cases have had their lives taking from beneath them and thrown away. I wont go in to describing the book at any length; I’ll leave it up to you to read and make your own assessments; but it saddens me to read such stories. Is this really where society has peaked? Do we really live in a ‘civilised’ world where what we say in our private time on a silly website can have devastating effects on our entire lives?
This subject annoys me. And not in the same way that Kanye West or TV Soaps annoy me. It actually angers me. It angers me that the online world has such a direct influence on our lives. It angers me that people we don’t know, nor will ever even meet in person, have such a direct influence on our life and the way in which we live it.
I’m going to cut this short because I can feel this being a two or three-part post and i’d rather do it without rushing.
What do you think on the subject? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time…