Today I posted a little non-offensive comment on Twitter that I thought huge files from the D850 or new Sony A7iii (or whatever it’s called) were unnecessary for the vast majority of applications. Nice, but unnecessary. You would have thought that I had called someone Hitler’s mother!
The vitriol on most social media platforms is quite astounding. Have we, as a society, really got so rude and full of hatred to our fellow humans that we can display this tendency over something so trivial? It would appear so.
A few days ago I mentioned, again on Twitter on my non-photographic feed, that a survey that was conducted into the reasons for voting for Brexit, and that this included a response that some more mature voters (mainly those who remembered WWII) didn’t like the EU because they felt that Germany has too much power. It wasn’t a statement I made, it was a fact from a survey of voters and I made that clear. The abuse, often retweeted, was actually scary.
You would have thought that I was suddenly an advocate of Brexit, in the eyes of some, but equally I was abused by Brexiteers who looked on it another way and thought I was an ‘idiot loser remainer’. I was attacked by both camps, and people were retweeting abusive or at least rude replies to me with enthusiasm.
For the record, I am against Brexit, but I do feel that we need to examine ALL the reasons why people chose to vote the way they did – not just the ones that suit us, or the ones that agree with us and our individual belief or vote.
In order to understand when something has gone in a largely unexpected direction, it is useful to consider the reasons for that, and all of them. The UK has very large social problems and pretending that the problems don’t exist does not make them go away.
I tried to clarify this position, without siding with either side. Just pointing out I was the messenger not the message, and that we need to look at everyones reasons and opinions. We all need to understand how each other feels, it is essential for communication and moving forward.
More abuse followed. I was called a racist, a coward, labelled as ignorant, and several things I shall not type were thrown at me. I even had personal messages from both camps which were far from polite. I was even offered a plane ticket to leave and go back where I came from, which is hard, when I am where I came from…
It appears now that anyone and everyone is fair game. The most innocent comment can get you a heap of abuse. To prove this point I commented on another feed of mine that; ‘I, personally, don’t much like cheese. Nothing wrong with it, I just don’t like the taste’. It wasn’t a reply to anything, just a single little comment on my own timeline.
How offensive can my personal food preference be? You’d be amazed…
‘Well, that’s because you have absolutely no taste and are ignorant of the finer qualities of decent food’
‘F*** off. Your obviously uneducated trash. What the f***s wrong with cheese?’
(Original spellings which questions who exactly is uneducated here…)
‘Well, you’ve never had a decent cheese then’
These were just three.
I have never liked cheese. I don’t like bananas either. I look silly in the colour yellow because of the tone of my skin. But I don’t mind if other people eat bananas or cheese, or like yellow. Some people look great in yellow, I look ill.
We are all different. I am quite sure that if you sit and talk to people around you right now you will find that some people like the same foods as you and some people don’t. But really, ‘F*** off’ and ‘uneducated trash’. Just because I don’t happen to like the taste of cheese?
The assumption that suddenly, if exposed to a ‘decent cheese’ I am going to change a 47 year history of not liking the taste of something?
I actually deleted the tweets and deactivated my Twitter account.
I have also removed Facebook and Twitter from my mobile devices. I have to deliberately go to my desktop and login now and it’s something that I am only intending on doing because a modern business is expected to have social media presence. If I didn’t have a business to run then I would delete every single account!
I wonder about a society where it is ok to abuse people you don’t know and will, probably, never meet because they made one little post about nothing of importance that you personally don’t feel the same way about.
People commit suicide because of abuse on social media. This is a fact, and a sad comment on the comments of our “society”. Are we even a society anymore when we cannot abide someone having a different opinion to us, especially about something trivial as what they may or may not have for dinner?
Right now, we are in the middle of numerous scandals about the abuse of women in various professions. Something which, to be frank, has gone on in every walk for life for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t make it right, but it has taken a damned long time for anyone to even talk about doing something about it. It has taken a damned long time to be unacceptable.
Too damned long, and to be honest, I don’t really think it will change unless we all want it too.
How long will it take before it become unacceptable to abuse someone online for making a comment about not liking cheese?
Update: Following on from writing this piece I have decided that I am no longer going to engage in certain social media. This isn’t because of comments made directly to me, but simply by watching the comments and counter comments on some of the Facebook groups pages to which I am a member. I have more followers on Instagram and on my websites than I do on Facebook and Twitter anyway. The fact that Donal Trump runs his presidency from Twitter is enough of an indictment on that platform! LOL.
I still think it is a very sad reflection of our society now that people find it so acceptable to insult and argue with others over such tiny individual choices. Very soon we will also be expected to wear a uniform and not question anyone else’s opinions. That will be a very sad development for countries which have brought us some of the greatest thinkers and writers of all time.