We’ve all heard the old adage that says if we don’t have anything nice to say, we shouldn’t say anything at all. Unfortunately, social media has made it a lot more difficult to hold true to this statement. Adding Facebook and Twitter into the mix has created a group of people that don’t take others’ feelings into account before we spill our guts on the internet. The question is; have we forgone our ethics and values when it comes to social media?
Back in the day, before social media, we had to think about what we said before we said it, because we weren’t trying to be inherently mean to people. What social media has allowed is an opportunity to not have to think before we type something. Many people use Facebook and Twitter as a means to air their grievances without considering what kind of impact their words may have. Have we truly become heartless or is simply a case of faceless courage?
It’s easier to type something and not think about what we’ve actually said, than to have to say something heinous to someone’s face. Over the internet, we can’t see a person’s face fall when we say something that hurts their feelings, and therefore we consider this a safe way to speak. All too often, we speak our minds with the defense that we’re a generation of people that “don’t have a filter”. While this is all well and good, when you’re six years old and you haven’t yet learned the difference between right and wrong, it’s not okay as an adult.
Not having a filter is not an acceptable excuse for adults, but it’s become an all too convenient excuse for people to say horrific things to each other. When social media came about, it gave a soapbox to people who were otherwise unheard outside of their own social circles. People felt free to voice opinions, regardless of whom it may hurt. Unfortunately, what seems to be happening now, is that a great deal of people have taken their social media persona to the streets.
While social media has provided an incredible outlet for business purposes, it has also become a way of life for people who wish to spew their negativity. The unfortunate thing is that in some cases, the good outweighs the bad. There are a lot of people that use social media for its intended purpose; connecting with people they haven’t seen in a long time, showcasing photos of long-distance grandchildren, or allowing others to see the incredible creations inspired by their hobbies. However, others use it to create melodrama in otherwise boring lives.
As someone who works in social media, I’ve seen my fair share of the negative aspects of social media. People issue reviews of businesses and are often a good bit harsher than they would be if they had to give the owners a review to their faces. The internet has made us quite brave, but the false bravado has caused a dramatic upswing in our tendency to insult people to their faces under the guise of not having a filter. Regardless of whether or not we have a filter, we’ve got to be more careful about what we’re saying both on the internet and off.
It’s not fair of us to think that everyone wants to hear our opinions in an unfiltered fashion. Many people may want to know what we think in terms of reviews or feedback, sometimes even constructive criticism, but that doesn’t mean setting themselves up to be fodder. Obtaining an opinion about the services your business offers is a completely different thing than setting your business or yourself up to be bombarded.
People are being shamed for their beliefs, their values, and their faith. There have always been instances in which people talk smack, but when we’re spending our time viciously attacking each other about our appearances, what we hold near and dear, and even things that are out of our control. Too many people spend their days finding ways to blatantly offend people or hurt people. Social media has become the online version of a slam book, but everyone we know can see it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everything is supposed to be sweetness and light. We can’t always get along, but we can take the care for people’s feelings. We can all strive to be better people and find the love and light within ourselves. Simply thinking before we speak or before we type can go a long way in healing some of the hurt in our lives. Before we allow social media to create a generation of mean girls; let’s just think before we say something. It’s not a difficult principle to master.