One particular pose by Mcleod couples with what appears to be a thumb ring on his left hand has not gone unnoticed by those who are looking for reasons to suspect homosexuality in persons; the old belief that a thumb ring is a definite indirect marker as such feel justified in the phobia/bigoted slugfest.
The ease at which such online abuse can come is disturbing to some and I contend that the platforms can sometimes take forever to take action when offensive posts/comments are made and are flagged by the target or their friends. Twitter’s newer capabilities have a jury system to address such abuse in order to arrive at a decision effectively by one’s peers similar to a civil court system. Facebook and Instagram if not Manhunt, Jack’d and Adamforadam do not seem to act quickly as well when reports are made of abuse of suspected fake profiles when they are discovered to be such. The consequences of abuse is also bizarre at times and it is not until one meets someone who is actually impacted by same that the evidence shows up clearly the abuse can do, persons literally get bogged down, may stop using the platform for a while or delete their profiles altogether. Indirect smears without naming persons is one thing but when it is directly targeted at individuals and openly so then it becomes nasty, intimidating and just in poor taste.
When or where do they draw the line in terms of decency, appropriateness and outright abuse is clearly evident? Similar to everyday etiquette which guides cordial relations face to face but with the added near immunity of hurling insults from a remote device with very little consequence including the ‘shame’ factor makes the issues go way out of control. Anyone can take or copy a photo create a fake profile, watch the copied friends’ list and proceed to act as the original holder of the online persona only to create sometimes severe damage to friendships, some persons do take their personal friendships online and do not understand that there is a detachment that comes with online personas. I have it remarkable when meeting some persons who are vibrant on social media but face to face I am left wondering if this is a multiple personality issue, then there is the question of concerns of reduced social skills due to overuse or over focus online versus in persons socializing. At a recent meeting for example I and others had to ask persons to remember we were actually in a meeting as persons fidgeted with their phones with intermittent beeps and vibrations as evident on the table the phones sat. I had to remind persons that the meeting is where the focus should be.
What is also annoying is when one is out let’s say at lunch or at the club and persons in the same space or the same table who can see you literally send a PM on Instagram or poke me on Facebook while they are right there near to me. I just ignore them save and except if the message and such has a private context attached to it. I am particularly concerned about the newer millennials who ever so vicariously live their lives online with no seeming restraint as everything is thrown up from dinner photos to clothing, the only thing left to be shown are the pieces left in the porcelain after use a friend and I joked about recently but it is serious. It raises questions of self esteem, deception, narcissism and just plain insecurity. Sometimes we need to simply put the phone(s) down.
Outings on social media is also still an issue with a couple of reports floating around but difficult to confirm as persons simply close their old accounts when things can get really out of hand. The grabbing of photos editing them and sometimes without the target’s knowledge the changed image is sent all over the place tagged with homophobic verbiage and memes as a recent case brought to bear, what was even more egregious was that it was done by another gay man as both parties were in a longstanding dispute and in aggressor’s eyes that how he could get his revenge. Cyber bullying therefore is not ‘an us and them’ matter but also an intercommunity issue. Legislatively we aren’t quite there yet then there is rebuttal of ‘free speech’ while ignoring the responsibility that comes with said free speech; some believe that have a right to abuse others whilst claiming their targets can use block features to avoid such as in their eyes the whole episode is a joke, we have a saying that says ‘what is joke to me is death to you’
The speed at which a simple accusation truthful or not can grow into a viral thread or tweet is remarkable, all the more reason persons need to be careful what they put out there, not to mention the fact that everything can be screenshot now and thrown back in the faces of those who think they can deny or refute the origin of the offending post or tweet. A recent comment by a Chinese female athlete on menstrual issues went instantly viral on Weibo, their version of Facebook. Nearly 50 million clicks later on one of the hashtags #period she was condemned for the most part for being too open about a sensitive matter in the eyes of some for women and should have been private. What the episode has eventually shown are the myths of the use of tampons and virginity. Le sigh.
Here are some recommendations of avoiding cyber bullying:
Peace & tolerance