I’ve always had a strange relationship with social media. Until very recently I had refused to use it for many years yet recent personal and global changes have found me spending almost all of my time flicking between the different sites.
Just six weeks ago there was one major talking point and a hashtag was born that is still with us now, though starting to fade away under the pressure of our current situation.
When Caroline Flack passed away in February, the public turned ferociously on our countries media. Certain publications took more abuse than others and there was a general feeling amongst us all that the hounding that she suffered was unfair and certainly played a huge role in her death.
The storm began as she made a mistake. This mistake was probably out of character and blown out of all proportion due to her celebrity status, she was honest enough to admit to her errors and we all later found out about the underlying mental issues that resulted in taking such drastic measures and ending her life.
So how is this relevant today? Last night whilst hopping between different social media accounts I noticed a picture that had obviously gone ‘viral.’ The picture was simple, just a middle aged man with a shopping trolley containing four packets of toilet rolls.
The comments on each post were shocking. The public wishing him ill health, calling him every name imaginable and many campaigning to share the picture so that he could be identified and the angry mob of keyboard warriors can track him down.
The shopper was probably an idiot, but we do not know that. He, much like Caroline Flack, could have mental health issues and this level of abuse could cause severe damage to him. But this was not my main concern.
This man could be a hero. He may have been buying these rolls to share with elderly neighbours or those in complete isolation. Perhaps his family work for the NHS and he has gone shopping for them as they can’t reach shops due to their hours. The gentleman could be a key business owner who’s regular supplier are now out of stock and he needs this shopping. He may just be a Dad with several kids and newborn baby just doing his normal shopping. Whatever his circumstances, he sure won’t be buying in bulk again and maybe this will hurt others.
Social media is powerful. Should my family or neighbours fall ill I would of course do some shopping for them. Should I be fearful if this happens? I am only human (barely that sometimes) and would struggle to cope with seeing my image going around the world with such hatred, threats and spite attached. If a rock lands through my window because I bought toilet roll for those in my community I would not be doing it again.
The famous hashtag to emerge from the tragedy of Caroline Flack was ‘Be nice.’ It is simple and can save lives. Sadly there will always be horrific people in the world, many of whom are currently looking to cash in on the pandemic. Some companies putting the wealth of their company before the health of their staff.
The power of social media has stopped these people in their tracks, sorry Mr Ashley! They are true villains that have been stopped by public power. Had the country not met Sports Direct’s decision to stay open with such distain, they may still be trading now.
The moral of the story is that we as the public hold such great power and social media gives us such an incredible platform to use this power to either improve the world or to spread hate.
Pictures will continue to emerge forever of people we do not know taking actions we may not approve of. Just remember that we do not know their circumstances or their reasons.
I sincerely hope that the man with the excess toilet roll has no idea of the storm he has created and that he has not spent the last day reading the abuse he has received, though I doubt it. There has never been a better time to #bekind.
I’m going to try something new this week. My mission will be to make one post per day on social media that makes people smile and laugh. This won’t be easy given my lack of video and photo skill alongside my terrible sense of humour but I like a challenge. The world needs to smile right now and I will try and do my very tiny bit too help. Those that saw my isolation 11 attempt will see how tough humour is for me!
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14 responses to “Social media, let’s be kind”
Very thoughtful post that exposes those who tap first and think later. Yes there are plenty of idiots in the world but mostly folk are good natured, kind and helpful. 400,000+ volunteering for the NHS in 24 hours is evidence of this.
You are so good with words.
What a lot of us feel, but your right this is the time to make people feel good, not bully or torment anyone.
Oh, the Caroline Flack issue was so sad and unesserey#kcacols@_karendennis
People can be cruel. Online, it can be even worse.
Kudos for decided to make people smile and laugh.
I couldn’t agree more. Who knows what is going on in that man’s mind or life. Society is so quick to judge without knowing the real circumstances. I find most of these key board warriors are basically sheep. One person will say something nasty and the heard follows along. #KCACOLS
The world truly has gone a little mad and I can’t believe how vile some people are being. I am at home full time with my toddler now, so for her sake and my sanity I am just trying to remain positive and be understanding towards peoples situations. I hope your family are safe and well #KCACOLS
Since the dawn of social media, my main mantra has been “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all”. Trouble is, not everyone is like that. And that is their issue. Great post. #KCACOLS
I do think it’s important not not forget most people are kind! Nice one, Steve #KCACOLS
It really is so important and easy to be kind to people. I just don’t understand why people enjoy being cruel to others. #KCACOLS
You make an excellent point. We knew nothing about the people in these photos. We can only assume and those assumptions can be dangerous. I’ve seen some heartbreaking stuff on social media, hopefully as more people share this message we will see more kindness in the world as a whole #KCACOLS
I agree, social media is such a powerful tool and can be used for both good and evil. I often find it astounding about how hypocritical some people can be when they are behind a screen. #KCACOLS
I’m not familiar with Caroline Flack here in the States but I agree with every word of this. People are so quick to judge and pass along faulty information that they have no idea about. I think if people would just take a minute to think before hitting that post or share button we’d all be a lot better off #KCACOLS
What a little cutie. I think you are well on point with the impact of social media and our current world situation, when its good its very good, helping to reach out to people and share good news, when it is bad its awful, at the moment I am sick of seeing trolls and as much as they may have been created to help Corona forums where people are sharing there rage, anxiety and stirring people up with wrong facts. I have to be honest I have avoided SM and the news recently as it can all become overwhelming! Stay safe and well #KCACOLS X
I completely agree with you that people like to make many assumptions. It is damaging to see all of these negative comments directed at people. Like you, I would shop for neighbors and elderly if they needed it, and I’d be one of those people in a picture. It would be hard for me to handle the criticism, but I’d get through it. However, you’re right there are PLENTY of people that couldn’t. There was a time in my life that I COULDN’T take it.