The Flip Side: An Intoxicated Social Media Environment

The pandemic has impacted social media users in so many ways. Some have used social media to engage in worthwhile activities such as launching and promoting online businesses and mobilizing support for noble causes to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, some have trooped to social media to make a living out of trolling, posting irresponsible and uneducated views on several issues, and personally insulting and attacking individuals without remorse.

Two things have happened in the social media environment during this pandemic --- people have either used social media as an avenue for expression and an escape from boredom; or have voluntarily kept silent and deactivated their participation due to the negativity and toxic nature of today's social media posts and articles.

While it may have taken me a while to write a new article, I have not withdrawn from observing the norms and behaviors being demonstrated by people on various social media platforms.

The pandemic has impacted social media users in so many ways. Some have used social media to engage in worthwhile activities such as launching and promoting online businesses and mobilizing support for noble causes to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, some have trooped to social media to make a living out of trolling, posting irresponsible and uneducated views on several issues, and personally insulting and attacking individuals without remorse.

Most of the distracting and annoying posts I have observed are of political and partisan nature. While grievances and sentiments are commonplace in any democracy, partisan individuals and parties have taken freedom of speech and expression to a whole new level of negativity.

I have never been so disappointed that some people's morals have gone so low as wishing the death of the President and one Senator accused and acquitted of plunder just because they despise them. I never imagined that discussions on plans and programs against the pandemic will boil down to a petty and useless critique of the Vice President's use of glasses and highlighters instead of her counterproposals and solutions. These are so characteristic of the common arguments between Duterte and Liberal Party fanatics (assuming most of the supporters remain educated in commenting/posting).

I’m also appalled by the way some social media users respond to the pleas of our medical professionals and government to follow health standards. Our obedience to these established protocols depends neither on the government's efficiency in implementing its own plans and programs nor on the professional commitment of healthcare workers to provide medical services to those in need. We are duty-bound to protect our own lives and our families, and we need not be experts in any field to recognize the simple logic in following health standards and protocols.

NBA and other US-based professional teams decided to boycott games at the expense of their salaries, bonuses and livelihood to send across a message in their fight against racism. For responsible social media use, I hope we can send across a similar message to abusive social media users that these platforms should be used responsibly and positively.

If you’re sick and tired with the negativity and the toxic social media environment, we all collectively have a choice. Enough is enough and it's time for a change!

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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