Social Media Responsibility

Last night the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final. This leaves many of us feeling profoundly frustrated, disappointed and sad. These emotions are enough to work through.

But now, overshadowing all that, are our feelings of shame and embarrassment over the rioting.

Part of me is so damn angry at this group of people who entered downtown for the sole purpose of destruction. Mostly though, I am just sad for them. Sad for these group of young men and women who feel so lost, so insecure, so bloody angry that this is their enjoyment. Destruction.

I am reminded of one of Oprah’s last shows where she had on two former guests who had been Ku Klux Klan members. They came on the show, 20 years later, offering apologies and regret. They confide that they were angry kids- so, so, angry.

Now I need elaboration. Why were they so angry? How did they get that way?

And more importantly, how did they get over it?

Today, Facebook, Twitter, the foreign news and national news are focused on the destruction. Focused on the fires and fighting and looting and bedlam.

There is no shortage of video clips and pictures to showcase this to the world. For this is the age we’re living in and I can not help but reflect today, at what cost.

Last night became so much worse because of these bystanders recording the action. They gave voice to those few engaged in destroying. Provided a platform for idiocy.

Having this spotlight is exactly what so many of them wanted. Getting it, propelled more violence. Then more video. A vicious cycle indeed.

So many people are forwarding their smartphone pictures and videos to the police to help catch the ‘bad guys’. I have no doubt most bystanders out there did not want to engage the violence. Yet this is what happened.

We need a plan. As parents and teachers and friends and fans, we need to address our part in this. We need to acknowledge that standing on the sidelines recording the violence is as bad as standing on the sidelines watching a bully beat up on another kid. Bystanders have a role to play and we need to acknowledge this.

Browsing through hundreds of tweets, I am struck that almost all of them express shame in the actions out there, while at the same time posting pictures of it happening.

We don’t seem to see that we are feeding the frenzy by doing so.

Social media is a part of our lives. Much of it I love. But as a parent, I realize that I need to be pro-active in how this impacts us all. What are going to be the effects of all this instant gratification, lack of confidentiality, ingrained habit, and over exposure?

It occurs to me that if we had won last night, there would be thousands of video out there of celebration and joy. Some would be set to inspiring song while others would just let the hollers of delight set the tone. We would smile and re-play to relive that moment. But I guess the question needs to be asked, would we have been living that moment in the first place being so busy recording the moment? These are the questions we need to begin asking ourselves if we want to be socially responsible social media users.

Are we too busy recording our moments to be living in the moment?

Do we comprehend that recording, then sharing, provides a platform, for both good and bad.

I don’t know. My sense is that win or lose, there were people ready to destroy. There is little we can do about that. But without thousands of smartphones aimed at them, there would have been no fuel added to the fire so to speak.

Ah, it’s all such a balancing act isn’t it?

Social media also aided in the excitement and joy throughout the playoff run with fan pages and support. It made it easy to rally a clean-up crew. It is allowing people to post those photos for the police. Also showcasing the heroes who did take a stand.

We are all pointing fingers at this small crowd of hoodlums ruining it for the rest of us. But it was those same fingers, holding smartphones, that gave the hoodlums a voice in the first place.

Let us learn from that.

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One thought on “Social Media Responsibility

  1. Oh SO well said! Love that last paragraph. Last night I spent quite a bit of my head space thinking about the psychology of it all and how the role of social media was so so so obvious throughout the entire process, before, during and after.
    Was happy to see the positive side of things in photos today.

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