Social media fascinates me. Social media is something everyone loves, but at the same time hates because of the beauty and the ugly it too often displays. It has changed the way we watch televised dramas and sports (e.g. #Scandal). It has changed the way in which we communicate with friends and family that are as far as Timbuktu and as close as the coffee table.
The ugly is what I would like to explore. There is a very bold dehumanization that takes place on all social media platforms, but can more specifically be viewed on A‐list celebrity’s pages that is beyond disturbing. Why does this happen?
The most recent recipient of this dehumanization is Little League phenom, Mo’ne Davis. In case you are unfamiliar with the story, a baseball player at Bloomsburg University (BU) named Joey Casselberry, referred to 14‐year‐old Davis as a “slut” in a tweet. Since receiving national attention, he has apologized and deleted his Twitter account. Then, acting as the more mature person (despite her age), Mo’ne asked BU to reinstate the student athlete because “everyone makes mistakes” and “deserves second chances.” Wow. It’s funny how she used her words to help him after he had used his words to hurt her.
Nonetheless, a young man was stripped of his student‐athlete title for not understanding his words carry much weight, especially in such a public arena. Dismissed from the team, Joey has learned a very hard lesson about the power of words. Here’s the problem: On social media, people say whatever they want about whomever they want and are completely desensitized to people, especially celebrities’, feelings. Merriam Webster’s definition of dehumanize reads, “To deprive of human qualities, personality or spirit.” There’s a complete disregard for the human being. Because a person’s fingers are doing the talking, it’s their account and they want to poke fun and entertain, what should be at the forefront of their mind is not and that is: My opinion of whomever it is I am writing about can be seen by that person and can have a tremendous effect whether it be positive or negative.
Let’s be real people, the barrier that once stood between superstars and us common folk has fallen like the walls of Jericho. Long gone are the days where you could not possibly land on the evening news because of something you said in public. Don’t ever forget how public social media truly is. Now, I wonder if Joey had said this on a bus ride to a game, if the same swift action would have been taken.
The next time you tweet or make a meme about a celebrity, remember that you are talking about a real person. Remember that you do not know these public figures on a personal level, so you really have no grounds to attack their character. Do you think Joey thought that tweet would ever reach Mo’ne Davis’ iphone? No way! Please learn from his mistake. He went too far and unfortunately, posts of this kind are the norm on social media. If only we weren’t always looking to make someone the butt of our tasteless and inhumane jokes, the world would be a better place.
As a people, we are all in this together. Your words can make a difference so choose love not hate. A tweet in jest embedded with ignorance could cost you everything. Think before you speak, especially before you tweet. Take it old school. Before you post, just think: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? ALWAYS be the difference and not the norm.
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