I am guilty of not always practicing social media etiquette. There, I said it. I also cross boundaries, sometimes to the point where they no longer even exist. For the most part I go completely inappropriate on one of my friend’s profile pages. We’ll get back to that in a bit.
I like to stay pretty current on some of the things happening in our world, especially in my Country, so I follow Global National. They have great coverage of world events but keep everyone up to date on what’s happening in Canada. I find myself reading the comments that people leave on the news stories being posted, and I hate to say that Global National is definitely not featuring Canada’s finest. Frankly it’s embarrassing to read what some of these people feel the need to post. On a daily I read comments regarding Canadian citizens who happen to be Muslims. These comments are so filled with hate, intolerance and ignorance that it makes my heart hurt. How Un-Canadian of us. At one time we were known as the kindest, most tolerant and caring Country in the world. Has social media destroyed that or have we? It’s an embarrassment and I question why? Why would hundreds of people feel the need to post these hateful words, and do they honestly believe them? Because they are absolutely disgusting, and bordering on criminal I would think. Why? Is it because they are on some sort of device that makes them think that they have some sort of anonymity?
The comments do not just apply to the stories regarding Canadian Muslims. They hit on every single story that is published. See for yourself. I challenge you to visit Global or any other news page. Facebook is the best for the comments. Read the stories, they have wonderful journalists covering them, but then look at the comments. Where have the boundaries gone, and do any of these people even stop to regard social media etiquette? I shudder to think what hate they teach their children. In a world where we are trying to do everything we can to stop bullying and keep our kids safe, this is a perfect example of how we are failing.
Children are reading these same words, and they are soaking it all in like the sponges they are. How hypocritical to tell a child that it is not ok to bully someone, yet post comments where we do exactly that. We speak hate under the guise of freedom of speech, we post videos of children beating each other to a pulp, we make fun of children with disabilities, or call them fags or queer, and then wonder why when we hear that another child has taken their life. We all feel awful and then blame cyber bullying and demand it need to be stopped. But, what really changes? Thankfully new laws are coming into effect, but still the responsibility lies with us. We post music videos in which the N word is repeated over and over and half-naked women are shaking their asses. These are the things our kids are being subjected to. Where are the boundaries? Just something to think about.
Now back to where I began this blog regarding my own faults with bad behaviour on social media. I have a tiny filter, I’ve discussed this before, but I try to limit that to my own Facebook profile and page. I do enjoy bantering with a dear friend of mine who is an accomplished writer, among many other things. Her articles are often featured on Psychology Today as well as The Huffington Post. She is also a speaker who will be featured at BlogHer this year, and she just happened to start a non-profit organization for people living with mental illness. You’ve probably heard of her. Her name is Sarah Fader and she is the Founder and CEO of Stigma Fighters. She also lives with ADHD, Depression and Panic Attacks. The woman started a non-profit for crying out loud. She also wrote a remarkable article called 3 year olds are A-Holes which is now in the process of becoming a book due to be released this Spring. With the huge success of the original article, it went viral within days, Sarah was featured in an interview on HuffPost Live and the trolls came out to play. She was called everything under the sun when the entire point of the article was lost on some. It’s a satirical piece for adults that she wrote basically saying, Parents, I get you, parenting is tough. But, some trolls just can’t help themselves with the comments.
See Sarah’s Interview about 3 Year-Olds Are A-Holes on Huffpost Live below:
After the announcement was made that the 3 year olds Are A-Holes was going to indeed be published as a book, a Twitter firestorm erupted and I caught myself, and other amazing friends of Sarah’s in the middle of it, defending our friend from trolls likening it to child abuse. These people who refused to even read the article just got hung up on the title and wouldn’t listen to reason. I tried to explain that the book was similar to the brilliant Go The F*ck To Sleep by Author Adam Mansbach, but they didn’t get that either. Finally I blocked and walked away. Boundaries were set.
I get that sometimes people have bad days, and hey I’m an advocate for mental health. I have bipolar disorder, and I run a mental illness awareness and support page on Facebook called The Lithium Chronicles that now exceeds 25,000 people. I’m also The Director of Operations For Stigma Fighters, so I know when people’s illnesses play a part in behaviour, mine included. I’ve blogged about it many times, but in the wise words of another brilliant woman:
“Don’t be a dick. There are dick people; we all must get that. There was a dick at the gas station this morning that cut me off because, presumably, he was a dick. But, if you’re going to be a dick, you don’t get to say you’re a dick because you have schizophrenia.
No, you’re a dick because you’re a fucking dick.
Look, people that deal with psychosis and anxiety and depression and bipolar disorder and blah blah blah, at times, lead very stressful, hard lives. We could take it a step further and include those with PTSD from sexual abuse and from a thousand other horrible things but the fact remains: don’t you dare walk around treating people like shit and then blaming it on your illness, because I don’t want you speaking for me when you speak on behalf of mental illness.” –Allie Burke Best selling Author, Book Manager at Booktrope, VP at Stigma Fighters, and Paranoid Schizophrenic.
(source of quote: Allie Burke’s blog: ORGANIC COFFEE, haphazardly
Back off Trolls and set some boundaries because quite frankly, I have a very important job to do at Stigma Fighters and I can no longer engage with your shit. Let’s make this world better. Get off Social Media if you can’t handle it.
Make sure to check out how we’re changing the world over at Stigma Fighters and how you can be a part of it too.