Social media seems to be the new form of modern day lynching. I don’t know about you but I’m starting to find it all a bit uncomfortable.
From the comfort of our own phones, or keyboards, we have become judge, jury and “executioner” deciding when someone has done something wrong and then encouraging an uprise to try and ruin that person and that person’s life.
Granted the people in question often deserve some kind of justice, but the right kind, not a social media witch hunt.
Take the recent case of the girl in Birmingham filmed on a phone bullying two other girls. As soon as this went viral (one could argue that without it going viral she may never have been caught but I digress) the clamouring of the masses for this girl to be physically attacked herself was both ironic and totally misplaced. Hundreds of people saying the girl should also be physically assaulted and bullied herself. Some saying that as they were bullied in life themselves then this bully should also be bullied, an eye for an eye mentality … the lynch mob mentality!
I was bullied and this seems a ridiculous notion. Sure, punish and rehabilitate the girl (through the legal system) but keyboard warriors baying for blood and wanting the girl’s life ruined is frankly pathetic.
Then we have the lion hunting dentist. This caused international uproar and went viral and rightfully so, but to what ends? Should we kill this man, should we ruin his life, his business, destroy his family? It just seems that often as a social media community we go too far and often misdirect our uncontrollable rage and anger.
Like I said, the uproar about this hunter was right, but not once did I see anything aimed at the company that sanctioned this (and many other) hunts. Taking thousands of pounds, issuing permits and rangers etc. to assist in legal hunts every day. They claim they need the money as they are from poorer nations and need the money to survive (don’t we all need the money?!) hence allowing hunters to hunt from around the world.
We like to publish the pictures of the hunters smiling by their fallen prey to name and shame, but using the current social media logic how about a few picture postings of people on computers or phones in these company offices taking the details and money from people they are organising the hunt for? Why not find these companies and levy against them, the right way and appropriately? Target the supplier not just the supplied.
As a final point, how about we show as much collective anger and highlight the plight (using photos and messages) of on going genocides in far flung countries, repressed nations, civil wars, brutal regimes etc. I’m not for one second saying we shouldn’t show solidarity to the animal kingdom or any worthwhile causes, but the reality of social media is we have this mass outrage over individual happenings, that a few months from now will be forgotten. Meanwhile we have long term ongoing issues that won’t end anytime soon and deserve to be highlighted and deserve some positive collective attention from us.
If you’d like some idea of the kind of things to look at then World Aid, Amnesty International and Greenpeace are good places to start.