Social media and its uses have grown substantially in the past few years. Most people log in to social media channels several times per day and some just log on and never log off. I’m not admitting to this but I’ve HEARD that it happens. 🙂 Social Media has become so huge, as a source of information that news breaks on Facebook sometimes, quicker than traditional news media channels. I was literally watching breaking news live on TV and news still broke on Facebook and Twitter at least 5 minutes or so before traditional media. That is astounding and quite frankly still surprising, in a very cool way of course.
Social media has a variety of uses, it is a great way to catch up with old friends, meet new friends, extend your network and make business connections. It is also a great way to get involved with social good ventures and this is one of the most wonderful things about social media. I’ve found that social media has been for the most part good and this is primarily due to the circle of friends in my network. I’ve met so many people that have hearts of gold that it allows me to believe that there are still lots of amazing people in the world. We all need proof of good in a world, when we all see so many bad things.
I believe that social media is still primarily good because I am surrounded by so many amazing people that are involved with social good projects that really have helped so many people. These people throw themselves into causes selflessly and quite often. So much so, that I am in awe about the power of social media and how it can and is being used for great causes. With so many good things happening I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes good can be offset by some things that are not so good. One of the not so good things that have reared its ugly head is the growing trend of public shaming.
A few years ago I noticed an incident of public shaming in social media, which escalated into something quite ugly. There was a situation in which a few people felt as if another person was spamming. I cannot definitely say if the incident was true or false but I do remember that the entire situation was extremely ugly and brought out a lot of meanness in a lot of people involved. Everyone is very entitled to his or her views but what escalated this issue was how so many people jumped on the bandwagon and formed a Salem Witch Trial sort of hate mongering mob campaign against this one person. Ok, say if this person was in fact guilty of spamming, which is not a great thing but why would that person be deserving of the mob of people that went after him as if he were an abuser of animals or something equally heinous. What is most disturbing about this is the mob mentality and the willingness of people to jump in the fray for negative actions against another without finding out any details. At the time of this incident I believed it to be an isolated incident and proceeded to push it to the back of my mind in hopes that I would never witness a repeat of such unnecessary nastiness. Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident.
I’ve noticed a surge in these online behaviors starting with a restaurant and others resorting to public shaming. I also noticed a repeat in how quick others jump on the bandwagon of negativity, even when some don’t even seem to understand why they are doing so. There seems to be a new wave of people, organizations and restaurants that have resorted to public shaming for a variety of reasons.
I am not claiming that I have never taken a shot at an organization with less than desirable customer service utilizing online channels. I admit that I had a very open online divorce from Comcast, so maybe I am just as guilty as others. Although I have never gone after in individual with the goal of publically shaming them, I have had negative online dialogue about a company or two. Maybe they were wrong or maybe not but I think that I should now analyze and revaluate how I handle things. This realization is prompted by how ashamed I am of the behaviors that I have witnessed lately.
When we utilize an online platform as a means of public shaming, is that NOT a form of bullying? Could there possibly be a better way to make a point or let your displeasure with another be known? Is ruining a person’s reputation and possibly shaming them publicly the best route to take? Are we at the point that when we feel wronged that we are justified somehow by automatically jump on social media as a means to, not only voice our displeasure but round up the troops of our followers to jump on our bandwagon as well, in a lynch mob fashion?
Maybe we should ALL revaluate our usages of social media. How about we bring the human element back into social by reaching out to have a conversation [privately] with someone that we feel has wronged us instead of rounding up our loyal followers and creating a lynch mob. It needed to be said….
I will start with addressing my online behaviors….