Home Forums Operation Orange Toxic Fandom & Cyberbullying Bullying, hate, social media.

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    Sara Buckle
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    Bullying, hate, social media.
    This is something I’ve written about in various ways for many years, as I’m an old hand on internet use. I was even around before forums became commonplace, and have been or witnessed online bullying or hate almost as long.
    Social media has changed the dynamic, and so I wanted to write more specifically about that’s aspect.

    Social media is wonderful. It allows people to connect in ways that can truly help.
    Equally it can destroy.
    It isn’t helped when aspects of social media veer away from what most users saw initially.
    Subtweeting for me is a prime example.
    Yes, it’s been a part of Twitter since forever. However, if you really think about it, it’s a pretty
    toxic way to use Twitter. It wasn’t always like that though.
    In fact, subtweeting for the average user on Twitter in years gone by was quite fun. We’d
    often subtweet other mutuals, but in way that we all knew meant nothing.
    Sadly, that quickly became a thing of the past. Today it’s used pretty much primarily to attack
    other users – openly yet not.
    Often though, the subtweet contains information allowing users to identify who is being
    talked about, especially if they run in the same circles.
    Now, subtweeting a group isn’t great in my opinion, but to use it continually as an attack on
    individuals makes it even more horrible a mechanism.
    Worse still if someone snitch tags.

    And yes, everyone has the right to say things on their own timeline.
    You have the right to subtweet.
    What I don’t agree with is: you have the right to say whatever you want.
    Hate has no place.
    But this itself is fraught with complications. Who defines what is hate?
    Do you follow the law? If you do, which country as many of us are from vastly different
    backgrounds and locations.
    Do you just to follow a basic moral code?
    Freedom of expression really shouldn’t be stifled.
    However in the context of just day to day social media use, we all have to make that
    judgement call.
    My position?
    If you would never say things we say on social media in real life – don’t do it.
    Behaviour is reflective of the type of person we truly are. Being online allows you to be freer
    than you would be normally.
    Values around kindness and treating others with respect should be adhered to.
    If you don’t do that – you need to take a hard look at the sort of person you truly are or have
    become.
    I keep seeing replies over hateful comments that are of a similar vein.
    They tend to have a variant of: But they/he/she have said/done/behaved in x,y,z manner.
    They deserve this hate back.
    No.
    No they don’t.
    Hate begets hate.
    You can be forceful and still be respectful.
    But to respond in a hateful way is toxic and truly is despicable.

    Hate is a strong emotion.
    We’ve all hated someone or something at some point.
    For example, I hate reading that yet another Transgender woman of colour has lost her life.
    The irony is I know the hate I feel stems from compassion on being helpless to stop these
    events.
    But if you hate as a way to get back at someone, that isn’t coming from a place of
    compassion, but from at best, a place of indifference or worst; it’s coming from a place of
    bitterness and rancor.
    You, by those actions are perpetuating hateful behaviour.

    Social media can be fast and frenetic.
    It also makes people feel they have to react immediately to something.
    You don’t have to.
    If you are upset by a post or poster, do you really need to go on a tirade? Does it help
    anyone?
    Fast and frenetic can also spread untruths or only one poorly represented version of events
    so easily it’s scary.

    Also – don’t spam timelines! A celebrity or otherwise. Again, it’s not a good look. It can come
    across as obsessive and it will often make people back off. The exact opposite of getting
    noticed. Hashtags are one thing. Continually tagging someone is entirely different. Some
    tags on a regular basis can be acceptable. Again, ask yourself if you need to do it to the
    level you’re applying. It can often rile up other users and cause rifts.

    Equally, be careful with your humour and sarcasm. What might come across as funny for
    you, can be misread by others. If people know you it’s fine. If you post and tag other people
    (especially celebrities) or use a hashtag, so that post goes beyond the people who would get
    it – don’t do it unless you can be absolutely sure they can get the joke.

    We all should use our own critical thinking when weighing up how to view anything online.
    Initial views can be misleading.
    A poster might’ve not been as clear as they could, (a real problem when restricted with
    character numbers). Or they write it and view it one way, you read and view it another.
    If you’re not sure and you can do so – politely ask for clarification.
    It’s a simple enough concept, yet all too often ignored.
    Just taking that one step, a lot of stuff that goes on could be avoided, because usually by the
    time someone does ask the question (if anyone does), then it’s become a messy heap of
    festering anger.

    Don’t keep fanning the flames if things get heated. Step back. Deprive the oxygen and
    flames will die.
    At the end of this, if you don’t agree, and your opinion makes you say something that is
    intentionally hurtful (directly or indirectly to a person or group of people), it’s a bad thing.
    At the crux of all this – just be a decent human being.

    Also – I highly recommend people disconnect from the internet once in a while. Reconnect
    with the people around you.
    Nothing replaces real life friends (and if you have them) family. Going out, sitting down at a
    table for a dinner, putting devices away. Talk face to face or over the phone.
    Devices simply cannot replace human interaction.
    It’s also been shown to have a negative impact of people’s social skills. For some it gives
    confidence to do things they might not have done otherwise.
    However, parents have been shown to connect less with their children, are less
    demonstrative.

    I can’t even imagine growing up and being ignored by parents or siblings, friends of family
    over something on a screen.
    My father worked as a mainframe IBM computer engineer. He was in the 1st group ever
    employed by IBM in Europe. His skill set meant he often worked long hours, and we would
    see little of him.
    Yet when he was home, he gave us everything. Not many years ago, we were talking about
    our upbringing, and he suddenly said he worried he was too absent a parent.
    My sister and I floundered, as we hadn’t realised he carried that with him.
    Yet – because he always made sure he was with us on every level when he wasn’t working,
    he gave us everything. In fact, I said – and meant it 100% – by knowing he was so intent of
    giving us that time, it made it even more special. I watched friends whose parents worked
    regular hours – who saw less of them that we did ours.
    Their parents were less present.
    I use this example, as today we are battling technology. It has its place, but nothing replaces
    human interaction. Nothing.
    It surely would’ve helped us to have ways to keep in touch while he was working, but it
    scares me how much it could have taken away from us had it been in a different time – and
    we had different parents, because I know we would’ve been expected to use devices with
    caution.

    Someone once said to me (in conversation face to face), modern technology is a paradox.
    We have more connection than ever, but less humanity.
    And honestly, I can’t disagree with that.
    In summary.
    Use your online presence wisely.
    Be kind.
    Step away.
    Disconnect.
    Reconnect.

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