Fear of Social Media Part 2 – Calling the Kettle Black?
One of the major problems it appears with the social media is not the medium itself which after all is nothing more than a series of zeros and ones being sent and received in the ether but with those who use it.
In particular those who use it to their advantage by either raising their own profile, place in the community or in the political world to get the message across that the opposition is wrong, incompetent, misguided and that in contrast your side are competent, well-informed and right.
It is unquestionably a fantastic and important tool.
Where the problem comes of course is when as we have seen lately the tables are turned and instead of ‘dishing it out’ you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of parody and perhaps a challenge to your credibility.
Before social media this was carried out through letters to the local newspapers and as such subject to a degree of control by the editor, it also meant that a sustained level of criticism was difficult to maintain.
If you were in the public eye you then had a number of choices to available.
The first was to respond to the letters which almost always published the name of the author or take the view that only ‘geeks’ read the letters pages anyway so ignore them, or if it was the newspaper itself who levelled criticism to object to the editor and ask for a right to reply.
My view was similar in both cases, responding to those who were looking for a response was pointless and as Churchill once said “never take on people who buy their ink by the ton”.
The fact is that I have never felt that criticism from the media has been something I would object about, they do after all have their job to do and the criticism I have seen by some local politicians that they have “been misquoted” is I think always and only used when they know they’ve made a mistake.
Social media of course is instant and those who use it can hide behind a pseudonym which entails a degree of work if you want to track them down.
The problem is of course is what to do about it if someone takes the mickey out of you to the extent that you feel you are being unfairly targeted.
My view is that if you have in the past actually used social media to make accusations calling people’s character and integrity into account you should accept that you’ll at some time be subject to the same, so the best thing to do is absolutely nothing.
I’m very selective in whom I ‘follow’ and quite frankly am only really interested in those I have chosen to follow. Those who follow me of course must have their own reason for doing so and if they don’t want to read what I think they can of course choose not to.
The rise of ‘troll hunts’ has to be put into context.
If attacks are threats to the person, or accusations of being a liar, mendacious or a crook/dishonest there may be a case to be answered.
If it is just a ‘tongue in cheek parody’ of your own use of the medium and profile, which some may call satire, are you really in a position to call foul.
I personally don’t think you are and believe that the majority of people will consider it as being, in the words of Hamlet Act iii, a case of, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”, or in modern-day basic terms as “the pot calling the kettle black”.
My advice would be to rise above it and let the people who read social media decide at what level they trust and believe what is ‘posted’.