Racial Bombs on Social Platforms

After a week of race insults hurled back and forth on Twitter, Saffiya Ismail wonders if social media reflects who we are as a people.

Every 60 seconds in social media, two million videos are viewed on YouTube, 700,000 messages are delivered by way of Facebook, 175,000 tweets are fired off into the ether, and 2,000 Foursquare check-ins tell the world where we are.

Watching #Leandra & #Racism trend on Twitter at the same time meant this was a big deal. For Jessica Leandra, tweeting racial slurs probably achieved more fame for her than her FHM photoshoot. As if that was not enough, another model, Tshidi Thamana, responded to Jessica's tweet and created another Twit fiasco. Both models have since apologised and blamed anger etc. blah blah blah.

Social media is awesome, but as with anything else in life, we have to make sure we use it correctly. One has to be very careful what you post.

Using social platforms has become part of our daily lives but we need to be responsible users. Like it or not, social media is everywhere today. Social media has revolutionised the way we think, share information, and maintain friendships and family ties.Gone are the days when we would ring up a friend and chat for hours or catch up over coffee. We catch up on “happenings” via Facebook and Twitter.

A friend of mine recently travelled overseas, she didn’t have to call us individually, she just "FB’d & Tweeted" the news of her travel to us. We responded with "bon voyage" via comments or retweets. This is the way things are going. We are so busy with our lives, that somehow social networks have bridged the gap.

Risking your job?
I read an article recently that employers use these platforms to discover more about a candidate. They infiltrate your “cyber-sphere”, so that they get to know more about you than what your CV lets up!

When they interview you, you are on your best behaviour, you make sure you polite and respectful, you say “the politically correct” things and you tell them exactly what they want to hear, so the impression they get isn’t always the whole truth.

But now, by using social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, they get to see the other side. When you post a comment on Facebook or send out a tweet, it’s not something that just disappears after your conversation has ended. You can delete it, but most times it remains, people see it, its “out there” in cyber world.

WAIT
Don’t rush off and delete all your social media accounts just yet; there are pluses to social platforms. Most companies employ a person after seeing their “page”, they see a person's personality and they are able to judge if you can fit into their organisation. They see a side which your resume doesn’t let up on.

If used correctly and responsibly, there shouldn't be an issue.

I enjoy the social platforms; in fact, I love Twitter more than FB. It allows me to be closer to real time information, like when the SANRAL debacle happened, or when there’s a breaking news event. It allows one to stay a bit more informed and up-to-date. It also affords me the opportunity to be followed or follow people who I will probably never meet in life.

Like Gareth Cliff, our President, and Zwelinzima Vavi. Sadly he has decided to stop using twitter and tweeted this as his reason: "@Zwelinzima1: Tweets exposes one to the most decent fellows of all races & classes but it also expose one to the worse SA can offer. Good bye for now. [sic]"

But I digress...
We have the right to express anger, frustration and whatever emotions we are feeling, we are free to do so, however freedom has limits. We live in a diverse country made up of many different cultures, languages, races, and backgrounds. Social platforms make our stressful lives more fun and interesting, but we need to maintain respect. People disagree and face conflict daily, but there is no need for ‘ugliness’ and slurs.

No matter how angry one is, I personally feel that “general politeness” in these forums as well as everyday life needs to be at the forefront.

The golden rule when we live in a society of human beings, we need to treat others how we would want to be treated; which means no K-Bombs; C-Bombs or Bombs about shooting certain race groups.

Check out Saffiya's blog or follow her on Twitter.

You can also Follow Women24 on Twitter.

- Women24

Read more on: technology  |  fhm  |  twitter  |  racism  |  facebook

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