This whole Charlotte Dawson thing has got me in a bit of a spin. I’m 50/50 with twitter. I love the idea of it, but I hate what people do with it.
I don’t like bullying and I don’t think anyone does. But I can certainly understand why people feel comfortable voicing their opinions on twitter – hundreds of people at the ready to agree with and back you up. Probably more to disagree with you.
Twitter is a powerful tool that I think people don’t quite grasp.
It’s funny, I remember as a kid being encourage to always have an opinion and to debate anything that interested me, but I remember being taught to back it up with knowledge. Nowadays it doesn’t matter whether you are educated on a topic or not, everybody feels that they are entitled to voice their opinion, not matter how unnecessary or hurtful or uneducated it is.
And that’s where I think the problem lies. Having an opinion is fine. But back it up with something substantial. Just like my tutors at uni always said “write whatever you want on the topic, but be damn sure to back it up with something other than your own opinion.” I get that with twitter and it’s 140 character limit that you can’t reference another source (and that’s not what it’s for) but people need to be more careful with what they are putting out there.
But honestly, I’m being a hypocrite. Whilst watching Go Back To Where You Came From this past week, I wrote many a horrible things about my disgust of Michael Smith (just typing his name made my skin crawl). And do you know what? It was nice to have a platform where I could share this and know that others would agree with me. Having that group mentality is powerful for your esteem. It causes a connection that even only a few years ago, was hard to fathom with someone you don’t even know.
The one thing I hate about twitter, and internet trolls is that people hide behind a screen. I hate the idea of anonymity. I really do. If you can’t say something and be recognised as the one saying it, then you should keep it to yourself. I admit, I keep a level of my life private, but if you see a xxxMissVxxx around it’s probably a good guess that it’s me. And it’s pretty easy to find out who I am online, that I don’t try to hide. And you know what? I don’t mean that everything about your life needs to be publicised, it certainly doesn’t. But what it means is using the same name for whatever you need to say. I’m much happier receiving negative comments from people when they stand by what they are saying and you are able to tell who it is.
Social media is still in it’s infancy and only time with tell what the true dangers are. But there are already many appearing.
Laws need to keep up with social media but with it evolving so much in such a little time, it makes me wonder whether the law will ever catch up. I don’t think it will because words can cause a world of pain and some people are more sensitive than others and there should be no shame in that.
But back to Twitter. The problem lies in that it is so instant: everything you think can be immediately published in a forum where thousands, if not millions can access it. There is no doubt that there is bullying on social media. And that needs to stop. I’d hate to think what it would be like as a teen growing up with so much social media. I’ve reconciled the fact that I was the “popular bitch” in primary school (yes primary school), gladly I grew out of it in high school because I’d hate to think that I could have caused even more harm. I also hate to think what I could have potentially done had social media been around in my pre-teen days. It’s hard because there is no filter on social media. There’s no “are you sure you want to send this?” message that appears. In the heat of the moment, it makes it hard to not instantly respond and think of the consequences.
I prefer to hear both sides of an argument before deciding my stance on most issues. It has nothing to do with being unoriginal but more to do with the fact that when knowledgeable people are debating, no doubt someone is going to bring up a point that you never considered before that could sway you completely to another side. I like to take my time to digest things before reacting but that’s just the way I am now.
I have no doubt that all parties in the Charlotte Dawson debacle are in the wrong. No one started it, no one ended it and there isn’t just a handful of people to blame. Celebrities are either to be adored and admired or to be degraded. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium anymore. And again there is no one to actually blame. But that’s how society wants it because look at the latest gossip headlines, we are taught that to voice our opinion in a public forum no matter how negative or uncalled for, is ok.
When did we start becoming like this?
Edit: I watched a small segment last night on 60 Minutes, the interview with Charlotte Dawson. I do love her but I’ve heard and read some horrible things that she has said so whilst I don’t condone the type of behaviour directed at Charlotte, I can see why it happened and why people felt that she should cop it. What bothered me is that yes, they did bring up her book which is about to be released and yes she did refute that this whole saga is not a publicity stunt but you know what? I’m not sure I believe that it’s not. As much as I don’t want to think it, it all seems very coincidental. If it’s not a publicity stunt, then shame on me for thinking it but if it is, shame on you Charlotte.
note: I’d like to apologise because I realise what I wrote above is all a bit scattered.