Responsible social media use

Opinion piece:

I see a lot of comments on various social media, many of which are offensive and ill-thought-out. Of course, people do need to be wary of what they are shouting out on public fora, as it can have damaging consequences, not only for those unfortunates on the receiving end of abusive comments but also for the commentator. Badmouthing can seriously damage your career. See this item about the impact on Toby Young of some ill-advised comments.

Of course, if you hold public office or are speaking on behalf of a place or a group, you need to be circumspect. Social media can make debate more extreme, for it has the potential to anonymise us. People can comment while hiding from a face to face interaction behind a shroud of online social distance. Sadly, it happens in Bude, too, that people publicly diss the town and the people living within it. At times, I find it quite sad and depressing, as I love Bude and think it has so many positives that we can afford to be generous in our assessment of others.

Online offence on social media is known as trolling which psychologists tell us is caused by online disinhibition where social barriers to negative comments and behaviours are lowered because of invisibility. Some vulnerable people and groups who can’t fight back are considered fair game for such comments.

Luckily, we don’t get much of this on our social media pages on Bude & Beyond. We are happy to listen to different opinions, and informed views, of course, and it’s really great that our high expectations of engagement from our readers/users are usually adhered to. We don’t do lowest common denominator on Bude & Beyond and you are the people who help us to keep it that way.

So a big thank you to you, our readers, for your continued responsible social media use.

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