Over the last few years, we’ve seen social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, rise from an entertaining way of sharing information and keeping people connected to become a mainstream part of our lives, with billions of current users and more joining everyday. Celebrities use social media to build their brands, corporations incorporate social media into their day-to-day business affairs and politicians rely on social media channels for campaign efforts.
While there are many benefits and compelling features of social media, allowing us instant access to communicate and share in ways we have not had the power to previously, I have to wonder, how do we know when social media goes too far?
From the convenience of our phones and computers, the world has bore witness to online scuffles and many a social media mistake, including last months’ Twitter battle between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, numerous Donald Trump Twitter feuds, as well as countless companies using social media to directly engage customers, and win over customers of competitors.
Airing our dirty laundry in public
Today, we have access to people and information we have not previously had access to, and with that comes a sense of power. With the click of a button one post can reach hundreds, if not thousands of followers in seconds, and what used to be somewhat private matters, can quickly become public opinion, with the potential to circle through media and social media channels almost instantly.
The kneejerk reaction of posting to social media out of frustration, whether it be a bad experience at a favorite store, a snub from a peer, or conflict, can quickly escalate from a mere frustration to a huge, public ordeal, often gaining support and public opinion on both sides.
Pass, fail, join the social media bandwagon
How do we know when social media goes too far?
In a world where we are guided by rules and regulations, where we have to take a drivers test to get our license, and pass an interview to get a job, social media gives almost anyone the power of reaching a potentially large audience in seconds.
Which brings me to wonder if users understand the potential impact of their actions and how one seemingly innocent post can reach a large audience instantly. Do they recognize when social media goes too far? There have been cases of people losing their jobs, celebrities retreating from the spotlight, and people using social media to try and manipulate followers into taking their side. And in some cases, the person tweeting didn’t realize the impact and power of their tweet.
In a world where we stand up against bullies, and teach our children to be nice, have we forgotten the power we have from our screens, or is this how we resolve our differences in the digital age? How can we know when social media goes too far?