Social Media networks are for staying in touch with friends and families, making new connections, personal branding, and marketing your products. These are also great platforms to spread love, inspire, listen, empathize, and celebrate. For those who prefer not to be active, you can still be there and cheer up for your connections, silently. But these networks are definitely not for punching and demeaning others.
Social media pages are for making connections, engaging with them, sharing your experience, celebrating your success, seeking advice, or sometimes even sharing your grief or worries. This is exactly the purpose of these networks.
Kindness and empathy are something we appreciate. Aren’t we?
We are human beings, so we do need attention. And when we have the community praising our work, it feels awesome.
We follow the influencers because they speak what we want to hear. Thankfully, social media networks have loads of them. And we rarely fail to like and share their posts(in fact, we are the ones making them influencers).
When we buy a cool dress, we love to flaunt it on Instagram. New job or promotion of a friend, we hit the ‘like’ button within a fraction of seconds. When a family member celebrates success online, we don’t spare any emojis to express our happiness. A colleague lost a relative, we are the first ones to pour our hearts out through words.
So we are empathetic, kind, social, learner, compassionate, and honest. Like we are in our real life.
So, all is well on social media.
All is really well on social media?
Does everything work in the same way as been described above?
Well, most of the time. But not always.
Trolls, bullying, inflammatory and violence, extraneous, demeaning, or off-topic messages. Aren’t they also common? Aren’t celebrities, sports personalities, and politicians are subjected to these every then and now? Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr, and practically any social networking site. Do you think it is easy for celebrities to ignore these? Maybe because they get used to it. Maybe they don’t.
We see venom being regularly spewed on a particular set of people. Social media networks have such new hashtags trend frequently. How easy it is to tarnish someone’s reputation?
I had seen a lot of bullying on social media. If this is happening to me, who only a few people are paying attention to, what happens to somebody who is on a bigger scale?— Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO, Bumble
Remember the statement published by Anushka Sharma? (see below the tweet). Her message to the netizens was loud and clear: wives of cricketers are not your punching bag. The allegations were serious – meddling in India’s Cricket Team Selection Committee – and she decided not to stay silent that time.
Do you think celebrities and politicians are the only ones who fall prey to these trolls? Not really. Such behavior is rampant over social media.
Perhaps rudeness has become the NEW NORMAL.
Let’s take two recent examples.
Chandan Roy – father of a writer of Bollywood movie Gherayiyan – posted on Twitter a few days back:
See the movie. My son Sumit is among the writers.
The tweet had a poster from the movie.
It was a time for celebration for him. It was no small achievement of his son. He was indeed proud of him. But what followed after he tweeted was a hundred abusive responses.
Did he really deserve this? Really?
Can someone do the same thing in the real world? Is it possible for anyone to walk to a stranger and get his last word there? If not, then how is that possible on social media? Aren’t we mindful of our digital reputation?
And the question – are we even entitled to give those last words?
Thankfully, there were kind people who came forward and gave Mr. Chandan Roy the moral support that might have helped, if not entirely.
What was even more encouraging was that he kept on responding to people despite all these comments. In response, he wrote, “Thanks. Actually all those who are giving negative comments don’t have the idea how much struggle a person has to do to reach where he is now. It is very easy to condemn but very tough to go through the grinding.”
Another example is that of an American family of five in an airport, all wearing expensive Segway hovershoes (nearly $500). A woman called Jamie filmed that and posted the video on TikTok. The video went viral.
This opens another big question – filming without permission, and posting it on social media. But it seems nobody cares.
The response to this video was all kinds of unwanted comments abusing the family as lazy, embarrassing, etc.
Yes, rudeness has certainly become the NEW NORMAL.
There are endless examples of cyberbullying, disrespect for privacy, fake videos resulting in reputation damages, inflammatory messages instigating communities for riots – the list can go on and on.
All we need is to be mindful of the impact of these on victims. Imagine what you could not do in real life, how is the same could be ever permissible on virtual platforms? Why can’t we be as respectful and concerned for the netizens as we are for our family members?
Kindness and empathy are not meant to be spoken about. They are supposed to be fundamental to everything we do. Spread love and good vibes. They will certainly come back to you – online and in real life too.