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):
The Women’s Guild conducted a brief survey recently, asking women to rank issues that are important to them. The results were surprising. Housing was the number one concern, followed by dignity and purpose. Money came in fourth; food was last. What does this say about us?
Housing is an important issue especially for single women, especially those over 50. We may be single by choice or because our spouse passed away. In either case, we are women who are often ignored, an invisible part of society. We struggle with finances because the past decade of recessions decimated our retirement. Maybe we lost our jobs as companies struggled to deal with the recession and the increased tax burdens. You probably know a few of us – maybe not. Who are we really?
We are women who
- Seek affordable housing.
- Want to feel safe where we live.
- Are active and wish to contribute to our community and each other.
We are women who …
It seems employers are looking for leaders, not doers or followers. This concerns me, because everyone is a leader in something, but generally, most of us are followers or facilitators on the job. Maybe I don’t understand what they want. Are they looking for someone who is really good at what they do or are they looking for someone to lead others? There is a big difference between these, so can anybody clarify for me?
When did we become so dependent on what other people think; I mean, as a collective? More and more, it seems to me, we are depending on others to think for us. Maybe I’m overreacting, but in a world of information sharing and out-of-control media, we can easily be overloaded and just make choices and decisions based on what is most popular at the time or just do the ‘chicken squat’. Personally, I think the ‘do nothing squatter’ may be the better choice – they do less damage and let the rest of us have our way.
You may think (good for you) what about this blog? Well, I’ve thought of that many times, and I’ve decided, after thinking about it for a while, that blogs are just another source of information. In the end, it is our personal responsibility to think and it is our personal responsibility to make decisions based on our personal values. Of course, my values may conflict with others – that’s life. I live in a society that values my right to my personal beliefs, and that is the foundation of the U.S. Constitution.
I don’t feel guilty because my values do not always agree with mainstream civilization. Sometimes that can be interpreted as progress … sometimes not. The point is that our values represent who we are and how we respect our personal values is how we make our mark in the world – how we make a difference. I need to be true to myself.