|What You Say Matters|
It seems today it’s all about the numbers. The number of people you can get to follow you on social media, the number of favourites you can get on a post, the number of re tweets…the list goes on. Where is your social responsibility, where is compassion or empathy for your fellow man? We seem to be hiding behind our handles spewing venom and waiting for the fallout, hoping it will result in more numbers. I wonder if anyone looks at the numbers of those affected?
Why does every opinion you have need voicing. Is there not some filter we should consider putting on…Step back and think before you speak. Being able to hide behind the internet is getting harder and harder, I am hopeful that this might make some people think before they type…but probably not. The excuse “I didn’t know” is also wearing thin, and since when is ignorance of the law an excuse. Last time I checked it wasn’t. Where have all our moral compasses gone?
Or the famous “I’m Just Being Honest” You’re being an honest pain in the face. When I hear the I’m just being honest line trotted out, my first thought is yes but who asked you. The age old saying If you have Nothing Nice to say, say nothing at all might be considered once in a while for those who are oh so honest. Being honest seems to be another way to attack people behind a thinly veiled cloak. Further more, did anyone ask you to be honest, did they seek out your opinion? Did they ask to be judged? What compels us to be honest or to use that turn of phrase to validate what we spew?
|Think and Plan Before Posting|
Freedom of speech is a gift, a luxury that many do not have. It’s such a pity that some of those who have it use it to berate those who are struggling to find and or use their voice. To have a platform of power where readers listen to you must be wonderful, to think of the change you could effect in a real meaningful way. Sadly, it is not often used that way in the Social Media world. Perhaps if it was the numbers would go down…ah yes we are a slave to those numbers.
A bridge needs to be built that increases our social impressions, increases the numbers, but doesn’t steam roll those struggling for answers. There is a difference between bullying and blogging. Even a micro blog such as Twitter has the power to move mountains or bury millions.
|Building Social Media Bridges|
Bad news and bullying seems to increase social influence instead of information and integrity. I can take a joke, I love to use humour as a way to get a point across, but not at the expense of others. Our opinions matter, and indeed should be expressed, but in a responsible way. Research, research, research. The need for speed to get that post out before someone else does, get the numbers before the next person may be doing more harm than good. Why is it acceptable to raise yourself up by bringing others to their knees.
Who is this? Do any of my readers know?
Who am I? He was quite the instigator of his time through his writing, and in fact hid behind a pen name. He was an essayist, novelist, journalist and critic. With a line saying we all deserve the face we have at 50, it’s no wonder he chose to use a pen name, especially as he was a writer during war times. I’m sure those brave soldiers coming home with half a face would have thought his musings painful.
I just read a tweet by @piersmorgan where he quoted George Orwells “At 50, everyone has the face they deserve”. It is in reference to it being his birthday. Mind you when I saw that I thought, 50…and the rest…but I didn’t respond with that. I didn’t want to add to the popularity of someone who randomly picks on people without thought of consequence. Great that he quoted Orwell, not so great why. It was done to inflame and to incite comebacks, he opened himself up to a shower of abuse. Which to be fair he wanted and knew would be coming. Why? To increase his social standing. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to quote Orwell and debate the quote, take it apart, discuss why or why not this is true? Not that I don’t agree with the sentiment aimed at him. Live by the sword die by the sword I say. Just be careful whose head you take off along the way. The quote is just as offensive today as it was when it originated. I don’t know that he ever meant it to be published or in what context it was meant as it was part of a journal entry and maybe he thought it was never going to see the light of day. So many people at 50 have a face they do not deserve.
Orwell also said: Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.
I was thinking maybe the reason the world is in such a downward spiral is because we are spending so much time writing to incite rather than writing to inform, to educate to include and raise up, not rise up.
|Social Media Optimization
For a minute you think times are changing, technology has brought this about, but that’s not necessarily the case. In the past headlines have been written to provoke action, television and radio shows were and still are racing to get our attention. Slipping ever lower in the hopes that a sensational headline will make us tune in, or buy. So while the way we get information has changed, the race to get us to Read Me has not. The headlines, however have, or to be more exact, the material has. What is considered news today would make Edward R. Murrow turn in his grave.
Who needs an agony aunt when you can just post your thoughts and let the world sort you out with advice. Never mind the comments that will appear to tear you down, bully you or in some cases drive you to the brink of death, and sometimes beyond. Sure if things get to out of hand we will just delete it and pretend it never happened. The need to be careful or accountable is gone.
When did we stop having face to face conversations, debates or just a sharing of opinions and differences over the dinner table? The ease with which people write without thought, post without fear of having to stand behind your words is out of control. Hiding behind screen names is the norm. Making multiple accounts to stalk and harass is not unheard of. Arguably it is becoming common place.
Did we learn nothing from H.G. Wells The War of The Worlds about responsibility? Wells was known for being a prolific writer of many genres, including social commentary. I am sure he never thought the live broadcast of War Of The Worlds would result in panic and chaos.
War Of The Worlds
The lesson here is you never know who is listening, and how they will react. This can be applied to today’s culture of writing to inflame and not inform. What one person sees as entertainment another sees as the end of the world.
Katie Hopkins has recently come under fire for her inflammatory remarks about depression. Why on earth does someone see it necessary to pick on those that are already down? Is it the race to raise the numbers? Why use a wide brush? The whole mess started because of speculation that the co pilot of the German Air-wings Jet was thought to be depressed. Surely it would have been more responsible to highlight help for those depressed in her posts instead of vilify them. Or at the very least, in her attempt to up her numbers she could have presented both. Equality and balance is sadly missing. She even goes so far as to say depression is not stigmatized. Why not do your research and present facts that you can stand behind? There are facts dotted in and out of responses, I’m sure gleaned from frantic Google searches between acidic posts. Instead of providing helpful information we get this:
When you have a platform, your own little soap box, why is it less popular to use it for good? Why is it harder for us to uplift someone, why do posts that inform get scrolled through while salacious headlines, narrow mindedness and inflammatory remarks bring us followers?
Freedom of speech is a gift, a right, a beautiful thing. If you use it though, you must be held accountable. We are not to know the minds of our readers, or are we? Is that what we have become? A world of Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan followers? Should we not strive to use this beautiful gift in a better way? Un-follow I say, Un-follow. Refuse to engage with those who inflame without reason and chose to follow influencers who address issues with openness and a thought for improvement. There is a difference. Slowly laws are catching up with the new social media age. We would do well to remember Orwell here…Big Brother Is Watching. I wonder if he knew how insightful that would become? I wonder if Eric Arthur Blair had said it, would have been listened to.