As social media platforms become the more accepted form of expression from a local perspective older, some younger or inexperienced users are learning the hard way. Even as Facebook is still seen as the master of the social media avenues and other micro blogging platforms such as Twitter play near catch up alongside Instagram for the more hip youngsters it seems the excitement of it all is somehow causing mistakes to be made and inadvertent outings by users is leading to all kinds of clashes and even forced evictions. While social media has helped greatly in raising the visibility of LGBT people in Jamaica and enhances networking indeed online based advocacy and interventions it has come with some unintended consequences if one is not careful. Bearing in mind we are coming from the days of exclusion, mainstream media omissions and obfuscation and homo-negative stigma. Only privileged so called ‘uptowners’ who penned articles & letters to the editors of print media while some columnists such as Jennifer Ffrench(actual spelling) tried their hands at matters on bisexuality and so on. We did not have blogs then and computers so it was an Olympia typewriter for example that was used by outfits then such as Gay Freedom Movement, GFM. 2016 there were three such reports, with one confirmed that came to hand and the simplicity of the matters may have looked just that, simple; they however exploded into something else as arguments ensue and things got physical in one case in St Ann.
The business of profiling persons due to their perceived sexual orientation by watching the gender of the likes of photos or comments, comparing how many women if any are on the publicly listed friends’ list, screenshots and archiving of comments only to have them surface in the future if and when an argument ensues as proof that they ‘knew all along’ there was a series of online workshops in 2015 and again in 2016 by some but of course the usual lack of continuity is the deterrent and as previous posts on this blog tried to accomplish some feedback suggested some folks took heed. There needs to be a sustained intervention of some kind with funding or not as it does not require that so much, but with some folks everything must have a stipend or salary before they act which is what spoils or indeed drastically slow any work that is required.
Quick cases summary:
1). St Catherine a young man was forced to relocate to a rented space after a relative checked his Facebook page just after the platform changed how persons profiles appear, the new introduction section on top of one’s work history he apparently placed words to the effect that he was gay and proud; in doing so without filtering who he wanted to see the declaration such as relatives it all came out. The relative, an aunt made a scene of the matter and although she is older she recently acquired a smartphone and is still learning how to navigate same. She demanded the young man find his own space as she was not going to tolerate any ‘battyman’ at her house. The man’s other family are overseas.
2). The proverbial leaving the device/phone unattended happenings, this one in early 2016, the phone was peered into and messages perused, Instagram and Facebook profiles examined and the male relative who did so went as far as to create a fake profile with a muscled torso as the main picture leading to sending a friends’ request to the male owner of the phone. The man fell for the request and responded positively to the request without first verifying who the person behind it was. Weeks later the man in question found himself getting violent messages and a female relative could almost recount what he commented on, which photos he liked and asked why did he have so many men on his friends’ list, she was also furious that he had a profile of this nature but never added her and instead added her to a more pristine profile instead. The man simply went to crash with a friend and allowed things to die down.
3). A carry over from a 2015 matter with a similar profiling construct around it, this time with an older gentleman as the impacted person. It was a co-worker who was the homophobe involved but ironically that co-worker has since been fired for other reasons outside of the hate. The co-worker was watching the man’s Facebook profile for some time and as he posted links to various stories that were LGBT friendly. It was another co-worker who pulled the man aside and told him in confidence about the shenanigans of the now fired homophobe. Thankfully that one did not end up in worse case scenario but it shows how easy a simple use or misuse of a profile can land people in challenges.
As visibility is raised however there are some concerns about the near frenzy some persons share almost anything on social media; in almost a desperate search for attention or the misguidedly valued ‘Like’ as I said much to the laughter of a group recently the only thing I have not seen yet are photos of persons leaving the pieces in the porcelain after use but I guess that would be not allowed by the platform managers. Uploading photos of food for example and such at a rate that is astonishing sometimes it makes for worry and wonderment as to when do persons find time to things in the real world or engage real people when individuals including and most disturbingly LGBT operatives and advocates as it were post and tweet away like crazy. Is it to compensate for the missing years of tolerance or acceptance by others? While I understand that it does something for the self to be out and proud (relatively speaking) it is going beyond crazy at times; changing photos every hour almost on the hour, tweets that amount to be mindless inane babble and shade throwing the biggest one of them all while presenting what could amount to be a farce of altered or bettered versions of themselves. It is something that has been on my mind since 2012 after what could be described as a dual personality related matter where the online persona was nowhere near the true picture in real time.
That case had some consequences as well and it pushed some to ask persons to be just a little bit more truthful about their profiles and such.
Some social media usage tips: (several others exist elsewhere)
1) Monitor carefully your profile as best as possible
2) Set boundaries just in case
3) Filter your friends’ list or followers to maybe include those who are able to see what is on your page/profile
4) Occasionally check your settings as sometimes a policy change and or new features added tend to adjust ones profile to a system default, often without notice from the platform operators
5) Block persons the moment there is drama and if necessary screenshot any threats and so on if made
6) Set up private pages with persons with like interests as members so as to avoid others on your main profile to become just a little bit too inquisitive
Other platforms such as GRINDr have been having their own challenges as well, as a recent fake profile incident shows, the profile’s owner became the brunt of the joke in the final analysis as he was led into an entrapment of sorts after robbing a phone from someone after a one nigh hookup. Deceptive THOTS and trade MSM are everywhere and they will use any means necessary to hustle. Adam for Adam is still used but not so much by millennials as older men like myself; they have since stepped up their game though in terms of security/verification features alongside a strengthened phone-APP to meet the competition out there. Tagged also has been quietly making some changes too.
More anon and happy hunting with vigilant usage
Peace & tolerance