I felt compelled to write about this today, because I received three links on this topic from three different sources on the very same day, today, regarding the power of social media and its use as a tool to spread hate and intolerance. Here are the three links:
- When Shaming Spirals Out of Control
- New Intolerance of Student Activism at Yale
- Stop Blaming Mexicans and Don’t Touch
Our hope for social media is to connect people and allow everyone to have a voice; but the Internet does not come with a user’s guide, and its framework is built on the values of Democracy, so we are often subjected to the dark side of humanity. I understand my opinions are different from many others, but I do not wish to harm them because they are different. Sadly, there are many who go beyond sharing and wish to do just that.
Some wish to disrupt and create discourse (trolls), while others wish to look cool and follow the group (group think) regardless of the impact, and yet others wish to spread evil. Whatever their purpose, they spread hate and misery.
Regardless of the intent, we must never be indifferent to such behavior and the hate it breeds. So how should we deal with such bad behavior? Report it, block it, and neutralize it. Report the post to the site’s online administrator. Hide the posts for that particular person. Neutralize by ignoring them. If you cannot hide posts, you could consider blocking the site through your browser.
Check out this article about Trolls on the Internet.
If the content becomes truly frightening, and you believe a crime has been committed, report it to your local authorities. Every state has an Internet Crime and Cyberbullying division.
Finally, for those who like to debate, there is a great online site for you at Debate.org.
For further critical thinking pleasure (make up your own mind):