AS someone who is almost constantly on Twitter, I’ve noticed that some people find it hard to be kind online.
And you can’t really blame them either, because none of us have ever been taught in school (at least not explicitly) how to act on social media.
Some even seem to act as if social media is separate from real life, which opens doors to certain behaviour we might not engage in if the interactions were conducted in real life.
What moved me to write this article is the sheer amount of meanness I see on the Internet on a daily basis. The social media war between Trump and Clinton supporters, for example.
Death and rape threats were hurled, and it all made me wonder just how far – and how low – they would go in the name of supporting their candidate.
Locally, there was a girl who was diagnosed with a mental illness who used social media as an outlet for self-expression.
Yet, she became the target of cyber bullies on Twitter for speaking out about her illness. They hurled insults at her for the most inane reasons, driving her to the brink of suicide.
I’m glad to see that she’s doing better now, but the vicious bullying continues to this day, and I’m baffled why these people on Twitter do what they do.
So here in this article, I would like to articulate the steps we can all take to cultivate a more kind community on social media.
1. Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you.
This of course applies to comments, texts as well as snaps. If you feel like you wouldn’t like someone tweeting a certain thing at or about you, then don’t do it to other people.
Before hitting the “send” button, think about whether or not you would appreciate reading what you have just typed out if you were on the receiving end.
If not, then you should try to rephrase what you said, or maybe refrain from sending it at all.
2. You don’t have to respond to everything all the time.
Whenever there’s a hot-button issue making waves, there comes this impulse within us to chip in.
The window of opportunity to get a couple of words in about the subject seems brief and it seems like we might never have the chance to talk about that particular trending thing in the future.
What would the world do without our opinion on that viral video? The answer is, it’ll just keep spinning.
Everyone will continue about their lives and the world isn’t made poorer by your decision to abstain from delivering a tweet storm.
I know it’s tough not to post a status outlining our feelings about that football match that finished 30 seconds ago, but some things just might not be worth posting.
3. Question yourself before posting.
Before tweeting a sentence, posting a status, uploading a picture, or writing that caption, we need to ask ourselves – how does this make anyone’s life better?
This is one of the latest lessons I’ve learnt and am trying to apply on my own Twitter account. If a thing I want to share holds no value to anyone, I refrain from posting it. It’s as simple as that.
I aim to be as efficient as I can in terms of tweets and pictures. I post something if it will help brighten someone else’s day, even if for a brief moment. If it’s done purely for self-indulgence, I try not to post it.
But of course I am weak, and there’s always a bit of narcissism that seeps through the cracks, but as much as I can, I try to keep it to a minimum.
These are just things that I’ve learnt through handling my own social media platforms for as long as I have.
You may agree or disagree with me, so feel free to tweet me your thoughts about the steps I’ve outlined here. You may even add things you find worthy of being on the list!
Anwar Hadi is a YouTuber and school teacher with over 133,000 followers on Twitter, so he knows a thing or two about mean people on social media. Tweet him at @IniAnwarHadi!