Just a thought about TwitterPosted: August 10, 2014
We’ve all said horrible things. To say you haven’t is a lie. For most it comes in our youth. By definition young people are self centered. As babies this comes from literally thinking we are the centre of the world; people do everything for us and catering to our every whim. This reduces when we learn social skills. In this transition we say unkind things.
We then get to teenagers. At this stage hormones kick in. We get the idea that no one understands what it is like to be us. For some this brings arrogance. We cultivate opinions which can rub others up the wrong way. This often leads to reaction from the person we are speaking about. In time we can get to regret.
But things have changed: social media. When we air our opinions so openly we make things permanent.
Let’s be open here. We’ve all threatened violence, maybe saying we want to hit someone. In the heat of retort we may even have wished someone dead. But saying it on Twitter is a different thing.
Young people have it harder. I came across a young football fan who had started a conversation about a team he disliked. Fine: banter. Someone replied to challenge his view. This led to him replying. In the immediacy of the key pad, he called the girl a “slut”. She fought back , as she should to this sexism. Lost for intelligent comebacks (although I think intelligence left him a lot earlier in the exchange) he wished the girl “wouldn’t wake up the next morning”.
Now, we could put this down to him being a nasty person and he probably does need to be kinder to his fellow human. But he also needs to understand the medium he is working with. As I have said, we’ve all said unkind things. But outside Twitter we can reflect, apologise and know we can move on.
It makes me think more and more that we need to teach social media skills and highlight such pitfalls to stop the breeding of unthinking trolls.