Social Media Soapbox

By: Chaunte McClure

social mediaI know the Christmas season is upon us and I should be spreading, or at least blogging about, holiday cheer, but bah humbug! Recent observations on Facebook have urged me to sit a spell on my social media soapbox. (It’s more comfortable than standing.)

Please indulge me for a moment while I attempt to address distasteful social media “reporting.”

I’m not sure whether to point the finger at our culture or those who simply love online sharing, even when it’s not their business to share.

With the popularity of social media and the Internet, information can reach millions of people in seconds. What great outlets to share news fast! Journalists and other communication professionals utilize these resources to inform their respective audiences about breaking news, inclement weather, school closings, events, and deals. But that’s a part of their profession! However, there are too many amateurs who love breaking “news” and want to be the first to report it.

Consider this: Is it your business to tell?

When someone passes, are you the next of kin who has the right to share that information with whomever and however you choose? If someone is involved in a car accident, should you report it on Facebook just because you passed the scene? Were you actually on location or did you hear the news from someone else?

A few thumb strokes on your cell phone or tablet can lead to heartache, shock, and/or confusion if someone learns via social media that a relative is ill, injured, or deceased before their immediate family or proper authority has contacted them.

No one taught us social media etiquette – at least not during my school days. There is a thing called common courtesy, which seems to have diminished in this digital age. On the other hand, the need for likes, comments, and shares has increased. We’ve essentially downgraded moral values to feed our desire for popularity and a few minutes of fame among a few hundred social media friends.

‘Tis the season to (always) be considerate of others. Fa la la la la, la la la la!

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