Let’s use social media responsibly

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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Dear Editor,

Social media has undoubtedly revolutionised how we communicate in the 21st century. At the click of a button, we’re connected to a social media platform which displays a large variety of information about our friends, families, associates, current affairs, and basically everything that is happening in the world right now. Social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and
YouTube, have made connecting and disseminating information unbelievably easy for its users. Despite the many privileges that come with social media, there also exists a great responsibility that many do not adhere to.

In recent times, social media has become inundated with extremely graphic content, including videos and images of persons who have met their untimely demise, or other content that is quite disturbing. There is no sense of decency or tact that is displayed by some individuals sharing such offensive content. Did they even stop for a second to think about how the families of these victims feel when such devastating images are circulated on social media? The irresponsible use of social media has caused many of us to be very discourteous and tactless towards others.

At the rate at which disparaging content has immersed social media, there needs to be a tutorial to guide people how to properly use it. Instead of grabbing your phone to video someone fighting, try to break up the fight or get help from anyone who is capable of assisting. Instead of videoing someone in a car accident taking their very last breaths, call an ambulance or seek immediate assistance. Instead of posting discriminating memes to ridicule people and belittle their sense of well-being, show a little courtesy and respect. We cannot continue to inappropriately use social media and believe that it should be acceptable.

Social media has contributed significantly to how we communicate and express ourselves in today’s fast-moving society, but we must not allow ourselves to be carried away to a point where we compromise our integrity to gain several "likes", "comments" or "shares" as a means of increasing online popularity.

Irresponsible use of social media has also been demonstrated by motorists who use the roadways daily. Several people are on their cellphones texting, Facebooking, tweeting, posting images on Instagram, checking e-mail, watching videos on YouTube. More concerningly, these motorists are engaging in these activities whilst other passengers are travelling in the vehicle. This shows blatant disregard and disrespect for other people’s lives. We must focus all of our attention on the roads when driving and not on our cellphones and the social media content that is there. Whatever is on the phone can definitely wait, our lives cannot. We should not allow ourselves to become so ostentatiously caught up in social media and controlled online content.

Greater responsibility and tact needs to be demonstrated by social media users when posting content, and also the consequences of posting certain content should also be taken into consideration. Social media can be fun, but it must also be conscientious.

O’Neil D Phipps





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