Ok so the fact that I have written about social media and then posted the blog on social media does seem rather ironic but that’s the way of the world now. Social media can be a wonderful thing. It can open up a world to those who may not have access it. It also allows people to get messages out there to a wider audience. I am generally a huge fan of social media and try and embrace it as much as possible.
As an activist social media will soon become the primary method of campaigning. With smart doorbells giving residents a heads up at who is at their front door, meaning the door is less likely to be opened, and people being more environmentally conscious so the use of leaflets will probably be a thing of the past in the future, Social media could be the answer and I predict it will be in the not too distant future if it isn’t already. Personally, as I have a disability which effects my mobility this is also a wonderful way I can reach voters. For someone like me and younger, social media is a part of our day to day life. I am on social media for my work as I have an online business and for my campaigning. With the quick paced life that we seem to live now, I also have anxiety about not checking it on a regular basis in case a customer has contacted me. Facebook also scores you on your response times and rewards you the more active you are by increasing your visibility on their algorithms. It’s a also a bit of a game as once you have mastered the formula to achieving social media greatness, the platforms change their rules so you are then dropped a level and have to adjust your posting activity to then once again master what it is that they are after.
Once the door is open and you are sucked into being a social media user, it is very difficult to then pull away when it isn’t quite going the way you would like it to. The trouble with social media is that it opens
your world up to a very dark and sinister place. Trolls and abusers can sit behind a screen and put out whatever they choose with very little consequence. It can also be hard to realise that you can just turn it off. When you are a subject of online abuse and you’re sitting in your home reading it, it can feel like it’s taking place in your home. It can feel like there is no escape from it.
Yesterday I received a call from BBC Radio Scotland asking me if I would speak about calls for hanging social media restrictions to combat online abuse. Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out about her online abuse and now footballers (because everyone listens to footballers) have called for tighter measures in place such as ID for even having an account. This has sparked more debate over online abuse.
I do think anonymity has a big impact on the likelihood of the abuse being sent and having to provide ID which is then accessible to the police is a good idea. But with the breaches of data recently, trust in where our data goes has already been broken. We need greater laws which protect users online and the social media giants to be proactive when it comes to repeat offenders. It’s a complicated issue but it’s one that needs to be addressed. We also as users need to stick up for those being abused, just as we would if it was in the street.
Social media doesn’t need to be a cesspit but until we combat the darkest corners of it, that is what it can become.
To hear my part on yesterdays discussion click below