Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Disgust of Social Media

I am completely disenchanted with social media.

I realize that sounds like an oxymoron as I use social media every single day; multiple times a day. In fact, I might even admit that I am addicted to social media. After twenty some years of being a social worker, I find that I am inquisitive. I like to know how things happen and why things happen. In addition, I am just a big people watcher.

So, then, what is my complaint? Sure, I often scratch my head at some things that people post.  I absolutely believe you should resolve personal problems face to-face and not through Facebook. Yes, I do get annoyed when people post photos of their children in near naked status {am I the only one that is aware of perpetrators?}.

But none of that is my complaint. My complaint is the news sites. All of our local news stations have a Facebook page and post breaking news. One one hand that is very helpful information. On the other hand, every single person on Facebook can comment on the news story.

As current events occur, I talk about them with my family and friends. I have even been known to develop opinions about them. Those opinions are shared intimately. Not publicly.

This past week several traumatic events have occurred in the city that I live.  People died. A car crashed into a daycare. A babies body was found discarded in the trash. The media posted these stories on social media and then continued to update the stories with multiple post.

The story should end there. But it does not. So many people posted comments under the news stories. They make wild allegation, off-the-wall hypothesis based on their own biases and judgments. They hold nothing back. They become judge and jury. They demand information that they have no right to. They do it publicly for all to see.

When I was a young teen, my family suffered a huge tragedy. My Uncle was mysteriously killed. In fact, his death remains a huge source of wonder in our family. His death was painful. But what made it worse was how very public (or at least what we thought was public back then) it was. Both newspaper and radio ran stories. We could not escape the public reminders.

Back then the closest thing we had to social media was the town donut shop. And yes, when we walked into the donut shop, people did stare at us. But you know what they also did; they shut up. They had enough decency to keep their comments to themselves. There was enough respect to us and our community to maintain a level of civility.

What is wrong with us that we no longer see the benefit of that? Unfortunately, the anonymity of the computer and cyberspace makes some feel like they can type anything that enters our minds whether it should be said or not.  Reading a story on the internet does not give you all the facts. Responding to a request on social media to aid a community that asks for help does not give you the right to private/personal information.

Part of my self-care is that I am absolutely going to refuse to read any comments posted under a news site.  However, I would like to challenge everyone else. Stop and think a moment before you type that comment. Can it be misconstrued? Can it be offensive? Will it cause even more hurt? Is it necessary?

If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then just step away from the computer. And go have that conversation with a friend or a spouse in private. Leave it off of Facebook. Don't tweet it. Just don't.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on this one, which is exactly why I won't follow any local news stations on Facebook.