Social media can be both a good and bad thing.
Good when you get to connect with friends and family that you don’t often see. Good when people use it to share pictures of kids, pets, themselves, good news in their life, humor, useful tips, and inspiration.
Bad when people use it to simply display whatever they hate in front of the world.
I’m not talking about the political stuff so much. In that case I think people genuinely believe they’re going to change the world by enlightening the Facebook masses to their way of thinking, so it’s not precisely coming from a negative space. I just don’t care to share or argue over such things in that format, so I’ve simply learned to scan past such things and carry on.
No, the bad I’m talking about in this case is more a quick, hard, painful shot of mean. In today’s example it came to me via Twitter.
Twitter is a unique beast. I’m not overly fond of it because it feels like constantly walking in on a conversation I missed the beginning of. I use it though to keep in touch with friends I mostly know via internet related means, and also to follow some celebrities I’ve taken an interest in. I admit, it’s sort of fascinating to see what’s on William Shatner’s mind today (he’s a bit random) and as many people know George Takei is quickly becoming the most epic, funny person to follow via social media EVER.
In some cases though, following a celebrity I like on Twitter has been a horrible mistake.
For example, I enjoy Owl City, the experimental electronic music project created by Adam Young. The music isn’t exactly deep, but it’s whimsical and enjoyable and always puts me in mind of being a kid again and being able to believe that something Fae and Magical really might be waiting around the next corner.
Today I found out that Adam Young is a weight bigot.
I like to swim with fat people in the ocean because a little peace of mind is nice whenever there are sharks around.
— Owl City (@owlcity) March 6, 2013
I’m way, way past the stage where I laugh off hurtful things like this and accept them as my due. If he had made a similar comment about someone, ANYONE of any other group – ethnically or orientation related – he’d have brought down a world of backlash on himself.
Instead, because it’s fatties, it’s okay. It’s SO funny.
I stopped laughing back around the time I was twelve and a few boys in my class decided to use a desk as a battering ram to repeatedly bash the fatty in the seat in front of them. Because coming home from school with my back covered in bruises was ever so funny too.
Adam’s “harmless” joke is part of the same blind, hateful groupthink that made those school bullies believe it was okay to beat me up for the crime of existing and taking up too much space in their world. For having the audacity to not be a pretty enough girl for their looking pleasure. It’s masquerading as witty banter, but its still all part of the same social disease.
What it boils down to is social media making it a little too easy to get to know people. I didn’t want to know that Adam was a mean spirited weight bigot, I wanted to go on liking his music. But now it will be forever be tainted and ruined with slightly too much information.
It’s a lot easier to go on believing that people aren’t hurtful, insensitive jerks when you keep a greater distance.
P.S. Considering the fact that I was a competitive swimmer for almost a decade, I bet I could out swim Adam if a shark came for us both. Just sayin’…