There are many recognised problems with social media, and everyone admits that. It is arguably damaging to mental health, it encourages anonymous trolls and makes it easy to comment on someone’s life, and also it shows a cultivated view of someone’s life. Building on this, it also makes it very easy to only show everything ‘one sided’. It gives people a platform to show their side, and encourage their followers to believe that this is the only side, it does not encourage healthy debate or actual truth. If you have enough followers you can put whatever you want on there and claim it as truth. You can turn comments off and block the people who disagree with you. This is a common tactic for a lot of ‘famous’ people, or people with an online presence. They block people out who say anything that disagrees with their own view. To a certain extent, for people being unnecessary cruel, this is fair. It allows people to block out people who are just being mean for the sake of it, but it also allows them to wear blinkers and believe that their way is the only way. This often comes to light in election times, as the social media we each cultivate can only show us what we want to see, and can trick us to think that our side and view is the majority.
This fact came to me the other day. A few months ago, someone asked me to take down something I had written about them. A blog post in which I never mentioned their name, and was my side of a situation. I did, because I didn’t want to argue with them, only to find out recently that on their Instagram they have a screenshot of this post, and claim that I was slating them on the Internet. I wasn’t slating them. I was slating the situation, and in fact I think I was reasonably fair in my post. I understand fully that it is my view I was publishing on my blog, which is my space to publish my thoughts, but she has equally gone to people who follow her – who will believe her – and claimed that her side is the right side. That I had wronged her, when actually I took it down as a gesture of goodwill, and I never encouraged anyone to take up arms against them.
As bloggers, as ‘influencers’ (not that I am one!) we have a certain power. We could upload a social media post claiming a restaurant treated us badly, that the food gave us food poisoning, that someone said something about us, and depending on the amount of followers we had, we could severely influence their standing, whether what we said was true or not. Two years ago Kim Kardashian publicly denoted Taylor Swift a snake on social media, and this was taken up in arms. Her followers used this as a weapon, and still do to this day. Because that’s the other thing – once something is published on social media, it can never really be deleted. It is a dangerous tool to be used in anger, or sadness, or happiness. News stories always break when famous couples break up, and eagerly explore that one or the other has deleted photos/evidence of them. They then show these examples, that have been saved in a million or more locations, denying any of these people the closure or cleansing that they wanted.
In many ways, social media is great. It does allow us our own spaces and yes, to a certain extent, we can post whatever we want. It is the ultimate freedom of speech, but should this be the way it is? Should our own, sometimes unresearched and unfounded views or arguments be so easily and fickly given to those who follow us? There is always at least two sides to any view or argument.
The other day on Twitter, I got into an argument against someone who claimed that the Royal Family had let him down because they hadn’t commented on the ‘murder’ of Alfie Evans. How they had a right to the public to comment on this, when the Royal Family cannot ever comment on anything like this, because they understand how influential they are. Does them saying one thing, make that the right side? In a situation where arguably, there is no right side? They, unlike many other famous people, understand that their words and their standing have consequences. Even if you only have 30 followers, your words also have consequences.
What I’m wearing
Shoes: Primark (the real deal!)