This is part of my latest project ‘Taboo’. I want to write several longer-form feature articles about topics that need discussing, but often fall off the radar. Enjoy!
The irony of my situation currently is, that I work as a “Social Media Account Manager”.
Social media is what I base my entire job around and is the crux of the industry that I work in. Social media is what pays my bills, what feed me and ultimately allows me to live my life.
But the more I’ve been invested in my career and the more I work in this field, the more I am driven away from my personal use of social platforms and the whole concept of social media.
I would hold my hands up and admit honestly- that I’ve at times been addicted to my online life.
I’ve put it over my personal life on occasion and I have absolutely portrayed myself to be someone I’m not. (When I in the depths of my mental illness, I still had the “perfect” life)
Because for me and everyone around me- a social media presence is the way to portray the person that you want to be- rather than portraying the person that you are.
But the more I distance myself, the more I realise that it has been a time-suck, a productivity-suck and something that, even if i’ve enjoyed using it- I’ve had a bit of a hollow and empty feeling afterwards.
I mean, it can’t be good to constantly compare your lives to a feed of everyone else’s “best bits” all the time?
But the main thing that drives me away from it, is the amount of hatred, bitterness and hurt that comes from misuse of it as a platform.
On a wider scale- hate groups and hate speech are evolving and their presence is growing and the internet is to blame.
According to SafeHome.org – white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT groups amassed more likes in 2016 than in the last 8 years.
Twitter has become a platform for like-minded people to share abusive messages, to target individuals and to intimidate and frighten.
Platforms online give abusive and downright racist or ignorant people a place to share their opinions and it’s terrifying that people like Katie Hopkins continue to be supported by followers and even allowed to tweet the terrifying shit that comes out of her mouth.
I feel like it’s a sign of the times as well.
With a president who preaches hate in the US- and behind the safety of the screen, the rise of hate crimes, extremism and targeted injustice is severely on the rise.
But it’s not just at such a high level that social media concerns me.
Online bullying, threats and even casual nastiness are also so prevalent.
I would bet all my money that the majority of the nasty tweets you read about people, nobody would dare say to their face.
Even simple things like watching ‘The Chase’ is accompanied by nasty, snarky and outright bullies, taking a swipe- just because they can.
Commenting on how stupid people are, on their weight, on their clothes… and how the fuck don’t they know the answer to this question. It’s so simple WTF, do they live under a rock??
I bet if they read comments like that about themselves they’d feel really shit- and it’s more of a reason to take a moment before hitting the send button.
I’ve been privy to my own social media nastiness in my time. I’ve been careless in what I’ve tweeted and it’s only when I’ve reassed the situation that I’ve realised that I’ve been out of line.
I think the thing I’ve learnt most is that you can get carried away with what you’re saying. You can snap back, tweet about people who piss you off and irritate you- but it’s all part of the bigger problem.
You don’t have to be racially charged, threatening or violent to really deeply hurt someone.
Social media hate can come from the smallest off-hand comment, and it’s time for us to all reassess.
Have you read?