Social Media Trolls

an Editorial by Raquel Swann

 

Are you a social media troll? Have you never made a spelling error in your life? Have you never made a tragic mistake? What the fuck is your problem?

For a long time I’ve pondered these baffling questions. Looking around social media I’ve seen things that would make you sick to your stomach. Mothers who lost their children due to some freak accident only to be ridiculed by thousands and thousands of strangers who suddenly have an opinion. For example, the parents who tragically lost their son to the clutches of an alligator at a Disney Resort were touted as “ignorant,” “stupid,” “bad parents,” who should have known the happiest place on earth could also be the deadliest. Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy?

Imagine, the year is 1985 and most of us had no viable way to communicate with the world other than walking to your neighbors house and asking for a cheesecake recipe in person. They were simpler times and just as dangerous, but for some reason we cared more for our neighbor. I recall a horrendous memory when a small child stepped into a busy New York street and was struck by a car. The car sped, and the child ran across the street without looking as everything unfolded within seconds.

What was strange about this story is that people from all over the neighborhood came out of their homes, even those who never knew the child or her mother, and helped. The mother of the child ran into the street – some grabbed her and told her not to lift or touch the child until the paramedics arrived. The driver of the car, in tears, stepped out of the car and ran to aid as well. Hundreds of people nervously paced the city block as the Ambulance arrived. The child was still alive – no one uttered a single word that contained blame nor did anyone try to attack the driver for his reckless speeding down a street full of children at play. Strangers hugged the wearied mother and offered help in any capacity. The paramedics secured the child and carefully placed her on a stretcher and in the back of the Ambulance. She lived, in case you’re wondering and hopefully you wondered because that matters.

Now because of the internet, cell phones, and social media we are all neighbors. People in Japan are as close to us as the person who lives next door to you. You can now get a cheesecake recipe from Budapest if you wish. And who knows, Budapest cheesecake may be the edible revelation you’ve been longing for! The point is: please think about how you would comment before you type those nasty words into your keyboard / phone. If you wouldn’t say it to someone who stands in front of you, then why would you dare say it to others whom you don’t even know. Trolling is for cowards. The real courage is offering support for those who need it. We need more of that, now more than ever before.

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