“I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning”.
This line from the poem by Stevie Smith seems, for me, to sum up many of the posts that we see on Twitter these days. Social media seems to have opened the floodgates for people to share their deepest thoughts and feelings, be they negative or positive, without restraint. What we have ended up with is a section of society who are so absolutely desperate for their voices to be heard that it’s pitiful. Abuse, bullying and foul language are common place and, in some instances, actively encouraged but why?
There are accounts which have obviously been set up to try and promote hope, tolerance and positivity but, unfortunately, they are far outweighed by those which seems to serve no purpose other than to stir up anger and hatred in others. I wonder what that says about the owner of the account?
People who are happy with themselves and their lives are rarely unkind to others so how low must someone’s self-esteem be for them to constantly hit out? The vast majority of people look for attention from others and what better way to get it than on Twitter? You receive a notification when someone ‘likes’ something that you’ve said; people will re-tweet posts and you’ll receive another message which, effectively, tells you your views have been validated however negative, unpleasant or inflammatory they may be:
“If we can fund Planned Parenthood to murder babies, I think funding our schools with armed security guards to keep our children safe is more than a reasonable suggestion”.
Added to that people ‘follow’ you which is indicative of approval and something that many look for in their friends. This results in people of like minds ‘following’ each other and using their sense of unity to bully others. Celebrities are often targets of this type of online abuse but they are also part of the problem; they are ‘accessible’ and some people will literally do anything to attract their attention. From fawning applause of even the most banal comment to threats of injury and death, to be noticed by someone famous can be seen by some as a huge boost to their ego. If they had a genuine sense of self-worth would they still be so desperate?
If Twitter were real life the world would be in a state of complete anarchy and war would be the norm rather than the exception but it’s popularity continues to grow. Even the President of the USA is in on the act and, as a hugely powerful and influential man, his words could literally divide a country:
….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”
It begs the question would Twitter would be so popular if tweets were not ‘liked’ or re-tweeted and if people could not follow each other? If that were the case people would just be airing their views based on their own moral standards and not as a way to gain acceptance or approval from others………..