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TONI THORNE: Misuse of social media


TONI THORNE: Misuse of social media

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I SHALL NEVER for the life of me understand why people like to run with a story without knowing the full facts. Technology has given this practice an added power with various social media tools. A family friend recently posted condolences on Facebook as one of her best friends had died suddenly. Within 24 hours, her sorrow turned to disgust and anger after many Barbadians saw the need to flood WhatsApp with messages claiming that the recent deaths were due to the poor water quality. In one day, Barbados churned out so many marine biologists and environmentalists!

A serious downside of social media is that it has given the unqualified a voice to discuss certain matters. More than ever it is other people’s business. What is equally upsetting is that persons see no need to fact-check. “Oh? ’Bout five people say a cow jump ova de moon? Well, yea, lemme broadcast dis hay den, cuz surely a cow could jump and over de moon.”

What is lost on said persons is that they lose their credibility in the process. In addition, if as many of us said our prayers or morning devotion, a lot of what we think and say would never occur. Don’t tell me about what someone posted or who has made who shame. It is negative energy and no productive life has the time or effort for such folly. 

Equally, all trust is lost on persons who cannot keep a conversation between them and someone. What impression do people give when they constantly send screenshots of their conversations with other people? If you are talking to Gabriel, the angel, do not say anything that you would not want the host of angels in heaven to know. You cannot “unsend” a message.

I learnt this lesson the hard way from one of my biggest regrets for 2016. One morning, a friend called me in a panic. He had just witnessed a horrible accident and asked me to ask the followers of one of my Instagram accounts to pray for the person in the accident. I did as I was asked. Needless to say, the person’s girlfriend was unaware and people started sending her screenshots of the prayer request post. Not cool. I would hate to find out about the misfortune of one of my loved ones via social media. I have learnt to be more sensitive, especially after I flipped a car and the pictures were all over social media before my parents knew.

Posting pictures of dead people in coffins is also disgusting. I could go on for hours on the ways we misuse social media. My main point is that I would like all of us to be more sensitive. Happy Sunday!

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise.
Email: [email protected]

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