In a twitter space titled ‘the good and the bad of social media’, speakers have ganged up against social media. One after the other other, they are passionately going on about how evil social media is, and the many evil outcomes that it has resulted in. Not a single one of them is pro social media, the very medium they are currently using to have what was supposed to be a healthy discourse. At some point a certain young lady decided to swim against the wave by suggesting that apps such as Facebook have enabled disciples of Christ to spread the word further to the world. Her point was drowned even before anyone considered it. You were either agreeing that social media is evil, or you were agreeing to keep your other uninformed opinions to yourself.
I noticed how they dwelled on cyberbullying and trolling in relation to the mental health of individuals. What I heard them talk about how social media is causing more negative emotion than positive. They gave examples of how people like Elsa Majimbo, Azziad and others who have attempted to succeed have almost been crushed by trolls and bullies on twitter. They also mentioned Mulamwar, who succumbed to the attacks and even quit his comedy for a while. As far as the speakers in this Tweeter space were concerned, it is the fault of social media that the degree of nastiness in the world has increased.
By now you are already suspecting that I am not supportive of their point of view, and you are not mistaken. While they are right to some degree, they are not being entirely objective. Just like everything else in life, the lenses through which one chooses to look at social issues such as social media determine what they see, and hence, what they believe. To give a simple example, there are people who live purely on a meat diet and others who believe that killing chickens is akin to committing murder!
Millennials and Gen Zers especially need to appreciate that our lives are the way they are right now because of social media. Because of social media, more people are interacting. In fact, not only are we interacting with the people we know but also the people we don’t – which is a good thing on one hand and not so good on another. With increased interaction, information, ideas, arts and cultures are spreading and exchanging faster than ever. More people are opening and running business and reaching markets far beyond their borders. With more people doing business, more money (currency) is circulating and so more people are able to afford things that improve their lives.
Additionally, more people are likely to spend money, because products and services have become more visible and accessible through social media advertising. As recently as 2006, you would not have imaged a title like social media influencer, social media manager or social media monitor, because it did not exist. And aside from introducing those new jobs, the colossal social media companies like Facebook and Tiktok have employed hundreds of people.
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It is my considered view that blaming social media for the vices ailing society is ridiculous. Blaming social media companies for ‘allowing this rot to go on through their creations’ is equally absurd. The guys were trying to make the world a better place for us. Some of us complied with the good and the expected while others decided otherwise. Take a look at government for example; created to serve the interest of the rest of us, but what do we have now? Our own baby is eating us alive! It is an unrealistic expectation that human beings will always conform to the ‘right way’ of doing things. With all our differing perspectives and socialisations, there is very little chance that we will all universally agree on one thing. There are people out there who do not believe in global warming!
It is unlikely that you will always experience positive emotion from being online. But there are certain things that you can do to cut down on the chaos you experience:
- Expect that not everyone will agree with you and there is nothing you can do about it. This will prepare your mind for whatever is thrown at you.
- Be ready to not engage with inflammatory comments. Once your post is up and some people are reacting to undesirably, keep your cool and do not respond. Remember that everyone has an opinion that his opinion is always backed by something.
- If you can, do not post inflammatory content. This is the part where you are responsible for what you put out. If you start a fire, certainly it will light up, and you have to be ready for that.
- Follow people who add value to you. Just because someone is very vocal and has thousands of followers does not mean that you should also follow them. Pick out people who put out the type of content that aligns with your life’s directions and ignore the rest.
If you have more tips on thing we can all do to stay healthy online, people share in the comments section below.