Editorial

The Perils of Social Media

IT is not uncommon these days to log on to social media platforms and observe the downward trend as far as people’s behaviour is concerned. While many people continue to use social media for the good, others seem hell-bent on bringing out their – and others’ – worst.

Facebook posts are replete with people tarnishing the reputation of others and open cyber-bullying is ostensibly the best form of settling disputes for some who think that making a short phone call – or inboxing a short private message – are now archaic means.

It is not surprising that many people feel depressed these days, no thanks to the level of discourse that is often generated on social media. One can well imagine how hard a push off the deep end someone can experience by just logging on and finding more disturbing messages than they already have to cope with.

But Facebookers are quick to let anyone know that their conduct is their business and that no one has the right to nudge them whenever they seemingly go overboard with their posts. The reality, however, is that Facebook has now become more valuable to employers than resumés. Hence a perfect job opportunity can become a closed door because of employers thinking the true behaviour/conduct of a potential employee is what they portray on Facebook.

Social media has also allowed people to take their narcissistic tendencies to another level. This has redounded to women calling each other the vilest names that boys were taught to never have in their vocabulary. Men, too, join in the crude behaviour by either sending threats to each other or joining their female counterparts in the name-calling frenzy.

With Saint Lucia’s productivity rate said to be on the decline since 2010, it seems no coincidence that social media is not only stealing our time but diminishing our economic output. It is not uncommon to see employees spending inordinate periods of time on their social media addictions these days. Neither is it surprising to see motorists driving with their eyes glued to their cell phones instead of the traffic.

Granted that every new technology has the propensity to take us closer to modernity, the fact remains that people need to be responsible. We cannot throw caution and respect to the wind and simply think that our behaviours have nothing to do with those around us. If we think that we do not need the very people whose characters and safety we put in danger, then we’re basically defeating the purpose of the media truly being a social platform.

Social media platforms cannot be held responsible for how we act. That’s our responsibility.

Stan Bishop is the current Editor at The Voice Publishing co. Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

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