Dear Social media users

Dear Social Media Users

The power we have at our fingertips should be used wisely. Our words now hold so much more force than ever before. The whispers between friends are now being shared across the globe, gone is the ears of few now to the ears of millions.

Growing up I was lucky to have a wise grandad who once told me “don’t say what you wouldn’t want sharing across a room”. I don’t think he had in mind the expanse of the social media reach but I do feel the concept, the sentiment is the same.

If we realise that nothing we share on these platforms is private maybe then we will less quick to press post, less willing to share.

I sometimes wonder if it’s a good thing, the way a persons innermost thoughts are now shared so widely. How opinions that have been in the shadows are now out in the open.

I worry about the influences on our youth, the perceptions they take as reality leaving them feeling inadequate, not enough.

The cultivation of hate, the rise of right wing hate, religious hateful ideology and the vicious muck spreading of lies. All finding itself a wider audience thanks to the power of virtual connection.

Yet still I don’t hate social media, I really don’t.

It has brought into my life some amazing people. People I wouldn’t have come across in my lifetime, separated by distance or just circumstances . It’s been an incredible resource on my late daughters disability and now my son’s. I’m learning, I have learnt more than I could have imagined most that I would have never have known without this source of knowledge.

It has created communities of support, raised awareness and reached out and brought love to those in need.

But personally I think it has come to a point that we now need to be reminded of authenticity. Times gone by a journalist couldn’t publish a story without having the evidence to prove its claim yet we have only got to look at the press of the recent times to know that this is no longer the case. Smear campaigns, lies and pure fabricated hate is shared across many communication mediums.

I wonder when the ability to write any old rhetoric got confused with the freedom of speech?

I wonder when one person’s opinion became fact?

When one persons fear became hate?

Should we be policing the internet, to be honest I don’t know?

As a person in this country we do have a right to think the way we wish. What we don’t have though is the right to act upon it if it causes harm to another, if it’s malicious in its intent. If it’s to incite hate?

So maybe thats where the policing needs to be, cracking down on those who abuse this form of communication. Those who troll, bully and intimidate others. Those who spread lies and feed the evil of this world. Police those that exploit the vulnerable, predators of any nature to all to face charges of a harsh kind. Intimidation, abuse, torture of any kind physical or virtual should come with the same punishment, a hard one.

But beyond all of this we as people have an obligation to each other to remind ourselves that what we say can be heard beyond the room. That by the words we use, the posts we share we take a responsibility for the substance. We cannot say we did not know anymore, we did not realise.

Ignorance is no longer a defence.

Let’s use social media for the communication it should and can be, one of joy, one of upliftment and one of knowledge.

Be truthful and be kind.

Many thanks

Sara

Trolling should be a criminal offence.

I love the internet, it has widened my world more than I could have ever imagined. I have met and become friends with people that wouldn’t have come into my life without the wonderful world wide web. I have experienced friendship, support, advice and so so much more.

Yet in the mist of all this positivity there are some that use the internet just to be idiots. They hide behind their keyboards to insult, mock and bully. They are cowards in the worst form.

I personally have received some vile emails and comments, people mocking the death of my child, my size, my life. They have crawled out of the their pits of slime to abuse, insult and tear me down. Their words have hurt and scarred.

But who do I get angry at?

They hide behind user names and false identities.

Did I mention they were cowards?

Thankfully Katie Price has decided that she has had enough. After years of her severely disabled son Harvey being mocked and bullied online she has started a petition calling for online abuse to become  a criminal offence. I stand behind her 100%. Whilst she may live her life in the public eye this never gives anyone the right to abuse her  or her child like this. No one has that right ever. Yet here on the internet these trolls, these cowards are free to continue their evil without any comebacks. This has to change. Please join Katie and stand up against these trolls, sign her petition.

We need to make a stand against the horrific abuse people are facing on a daily basic. Racism, homophobia, sexism and so much more. This isn’t a question of free speech its hate in the purest form. It’s time to say enough, sign the petition and also email your MP and ask them to support this and lets get this discussion happening in parliament. Lets bring these cowards out into the open and make them accountable for what they posting.

Stop and think before you publish

Sometimes I wonder about this world of social media and question if the reality of it is actually a good thing.

Yes we can communicate a lot faster and over oceans and continents. No more waiting for the postman to arrive or for telegraphs to be sent.

Yes we can open our circle of friends a lot wider and learn so much more than ever. Be part of support groups or fan clubs that we would never have managed before.

But like everything it life it has a contrast.

Words can be spurred easily from behind a computer screen.

Words that maybe people would think twice about saying in person are now flown out across Facebook pages, twitter and so much more.

Sometimes yes those words can and are used to lift people up but as I have been finding recently they are more often used to tear others down.

Now I am not saying each and everyone is entitled to there own opinion but I always go by the presumption of innocence before guilty.

Yet the mob mentality that is becoming part of this virtual world seems to be leaving this behind.

Children are being bullied to their deaths. They are hounded by those they know but also by those who have jumped into a thread or comment line for fun.

Lives are being ruined by malicious gossip that once written can never be removed.

Trolls are invading people’s minds and hearts for little more than a reaction.

I remember years ago reading accounts of trials by media and the consequences that was often brought about by them. Now it’s trial by social media.

I know many of you may be thinking that we still have liability laws for protection, but let’s be honest a tweet, an email, a video can now go viral in minutes.

Liability after the fact is still to little to late.

Damage control can only go so far.

Once it’s out there you CANNOT get it back.

Now I’m not saying lets boycott all the social media sites, I’m not saying this at all. In fact it’s well known I am a lover of social media sites and you will find me spending many hours on them. They have helped me share my story, meet new people and even been (are) my support network.

What I am saying is we all need to have accountability.

Let us know the full story before we write that tweet or post that update.

Let us be aware of the full picture before we join in on a witch hunt or a bullying episode and to be honest let’s not anyway.

Lets be sure of what position we hold before we like a post or retweet a tweet.

You may not have written the words yourself but you endorse them with your promotion.

Have your own opinion before you validate another’s.

Lets be accountable.

It isn’t easy and as a social media lover I don’t want there to be restrictions to the use of social networks but what I do want is there to be quick and severe consequences for those who abuse it.

I do want protection in place for our children who have yet to learn the savagery of the real world or the true consequences of their actions.

This isn’t about the squashing our freedom of speech.

We are all entitled to our own opinions but we also have to be able to stand by them.

Speak the truth

Know your heart

Before you touch that keyboard.

Be accountable

I know do.

Do you?

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”
― Warren W. Wiersbe