We Need To Stop The Hate-Spiral Of Social Media


By Jillian Stacia

I have a love-hate relationship with social media.

On the one hand, I think it’s a vital part of today’s society. Social media is where we connect with friends, meet new people, share art, get our news, find our entertainment. It’s the way in which we interact with the world. 

On the other hand, it provides an anonymous forum for people to attack each other and spread hateful messages.

Lately, it seems like social media has become a breeding ground for hate. People are sitting behind their keyboards and typing incredibly cruel and horrible things. They are using the platform to attack and humiliate others – the very opposite of why it was created to begin with.

Look at Taylor Swift. I’m not going to debate the validity or the implications of the infamous Snapchat video, but the amount of hate I’ve seen online is staggering.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s just say Kim was right. Taylor knew and approved Kanye’s song and then intentionally dissed him at the Grammys in order to help her own image. That’s pretty messed up. But tweeting her harmful, life threatening messages? Also kinda messed up.

Let’s say you’re not a fan of Hillary Clinton. That’s fine. You’re entitled to your own opinion and political views. But posting inappropriate memes and obscene pictures? That’s out of line.

Maybe you hate the new Ghostbusters and believe it’s the worst thing that’s happened in recent cinematic history. Got it. Should you make a fake twitter account impersonating Leslie Jones and tweet out horribly racists things? No. You absolutely, positively should not.

Because what you do online counts. Social media doesn’t provide us with a free pass to be a jackass. It doesn’t give us permission to be a dick. What you say online is a direct reflection of you and your character. It’s not some weird, virtually altered version of you, it’s the ACTUAL you. If you are a racist asshole online, then you’re a racist asshole in real life. The rules don’t change just because it’s happening on the internet. You still have to be a decent human being and you still have to treat other people with basic dignity.

Guys, our tweets and our posts actually matter. People do read them. They are ripples. They spread and they spread and they either contribute to positivity or they contribute to hate.

Just because someone is a celebrity, or a politician, or someone you have never met, doesn’t give you an excuse to harass them. These are real people with real feelings who actually read your posts. They are affected by your words. Even if you really do hate Taylor Swift, I’d doubt you’d go out of your way to find her at her concert and berate her. Yet we have no problem doing this online.

It’s also important to note that most of the time, we actually have no idea what’s really going on. With celebrities and with politicians, what we see and what we get is a very watered down version of reality. We don’t know what actually happened. We don’t know the context or the history. We just don’t know. Yet we are so quick to pass judgment. We are so quick to turn to hate and humiliation instead of, you know, forgiveness and love and grace.

Moral of the story? Let’s all try to be a hell of a lot nicer on the internet. Let’s take responsibility for our posts, for the way we contribute to the conversation. And let’s stop treating people like they’re somehow less than human. If we wouldn’t say it to their face, maybe we shouldn’t type it on the computer.

I believe social media is good. It is the home of birthday posts and cute kittens and flower crown filters and sloths. Let us remember why it was created: to foster connection. To make our lives better and more joyful. To create a sense of community and companionship. Let’s return it to its former glory.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site.

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{featured image via picjumbo}