Be kind or be quiet on social media

This study period via Open Learning University, I am study engaging media through Curtin Uni. The main theme of this unit is participatory culture. I am fascinated to learning about this concept that we are currently living. We are a generation that has the most amazing advantage of having the ability to connect, communicate, contribute and participate in real time with people that are either our family, friends, the media, celebrities or complete strangers.

I love the fact that I can logon to my Facebook, Instagram or blog accounts and see what my friends and family are up to, and be able to comment or like their posts. On the other hand, I am also able to share my life with those that I want to connect with. This positive interaction on social media makes people feel good about themselves and encourages participation.

But, what happens when participants of social media take this connection too far, and feel the need to express unwanted opinions onto others that are sharing their lives and are then targeted with negative, hateful opinions or comments. I recently attended a lecture at the Brisbane Writers Festival by John Ronson where he spoke about his new book so you’ve been publicly shamed. He was fabulously entertaining and spoke about an incredible instance, when a woman wrote a thoughtless post on her own social media account and in turn, because of peoples aggressive comments, ruined her own life, via this participatory culture that we all live in.

Another example of these negative, hurtful, unwanted opinions is a lady that I heard about on the local radio station. This lady gave birth to a baby girl, and a few days later she is “mummy shamed”, on her social media. This shaming happened after a post showing her attending the grand final of rugby league football, supporting her husband who plays for a club in Brisbane, and leaving her baby girl at home with the baby’s grandmother.

Isn’t it interesting that simple manners, courtesy and respect for other humans seems to be forgotten or deemed irrelevant, when people are able to sit at a computer screen and spew their opinions and not to have to face the person that they are attacking.

As I was taught growing up “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.