Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Callese Allen | From Miss Universe Jamaica to US-Iraq … Does social media diverge from accepted social behaviour?

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 7:35 AMCallese Allen/Guest Columnist

Social media highly reflects people’s opinions and impacts our relationship with others through each posting. While some may argue that it is delimiting, does it truly control our ability to be sensitive towards others, or does it order conduct within the limits of its regulation?

Twitter has often been the platform for trending topics, and it is of no surprise that situations such as the international disparities, currently the dangerous news of potential conflict between US and Iraq, are trending. Undoubtedly, this subject matter is of a serious nature, as many lives and relationships are at stake. Millions of people died during World War I and II, with its widescale destruction.

While not everyone can appreciate the past, with the allies, technology and resources that are now available, World War III will be much more devastating and it should not be treated as humorous and, by extension, encapsulated in memes. That is why attention must be drawn to the reaction of those participating in creating these tweets and memes. Should the nonchalant feature of these tweets be treated as a cause of concern or mere entertainment by those memes created?

Do those memes reflect a genuine response, or do they serve as an indication that there is an inherent problem today, that people have become so numb to the emotions of others and the nature of their situations?

BE RESPONSIBLE

Not too long ago, Miss Universe Jamaica 2019 became a topic of ridicule, as her ‘Annie Palmer’ costume agitated many. But the question to be asked is: did these memes strengthen our communities, culture or country? Is our motto still ‘Out Of Many, One People’? Or is the pressure of keeping trendy affecting our ability to express ourselves without coming off as rude, insensitive and cruel to the realities and emotions of others? Is this rudeness perpetuated by the lack of eye contact?

Insolence is a parasite which infects others and spreads like a cold. Even witnessing rudeness is enough for us to become infected, psychologically. It is almost like a neurotoxin, a poisonous substance that negatively affects our nervous system. As such, it affects the way we think, act, and feel. It affects our executive functions and has a direct relationship with our brain health, mentally and physically.

Many have testified to becoming depressed, insecure and even suicidal about posts made on different social media platforms. Once it was all about the image, but now the things we do and say for ‘likes’ is becoming problematic. Freedom of speech is a right; however, the onus is on everyone to act with some level of practical reasonableness when using these social media platforms.

Callese Allen is a student at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Mona campus. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.