I was really hesitant to join social media back in the MySpace and early Facebook days. It just seemed so odd that we could share our lives so… instantly. Gone were the phone calls and text messages alerting friends of a severe hangover or bad hairdressing experience. After all, why waste 50 cents when you could totally announce it to the world for free?
Truth be told, this is part of the reason I abstained from Social Media for so long. I mean. How annoying. I can’t bear incessant whinging in real life at the best of times, let alone it be a constant in my feed. #drainer
But one day I worked out that no matter how much I fought it, I would never beat the dang thing. Social media was here to stay. Social relationships depended on it. Businesses grew due to it. Competitions were won because of it. And opinions were able to be really, truly heard thanks to it.
There are some days I hate it intensely. I hate seeing people trolled. Unfairly criticised. Defamed. The danger of a retweet is very real. A cruel and trending hashtag can be like high school all over again – just who can come up with the cleverest, nastiest, tweet of all the tweets and will you gain more followers and RT’s than ever before?
I get it. Being on social media gives us a platform to say what we damn well like, whether it makes sense or not. Whether it’s brilliant or unfair. Kind or simply awful.
It’s our life. Our voice. Freedom of speech and all that jazz. Right?
On the days I don’t despise it so, social media can be pretty fun. I’ve met some really interesting people, especially on Twitter. Sadly, Facebook really aint my bag despite trying to force myself to be more active (but speaking of, you can like me here if you wish *winks*) but Twitter, well, I heart it. I love a good tweet, re-tweet, modified tweet, favourite and hashtag. I get most of my news from Twitter, read lots of incredible blogs and op-eds via Twitter, find great buys via Twitter, and of course, promote my blog and writing via Twitter.
And then there are days that social media just blows my freakin’ mind. Days when it simply takes my breath away. Days where I just marvel at how magnificent the world can be, and realise just how many good people are in it.
Unity. Sportsmanship. Camaraderie. Spirit. Love. Empathy. Kindness. Respect. All these things and more.
A few people were quick to criticise the widespread attention the late batsman received. Some said Australia lost its perspective and that tragedies happened everyday without even a second thought, without so much as a small square in the newspaper, without any acknowledgement whatsoever, let alone a worldwide movement. Some even tweeted about these tragedies using the #PutOutYourBats hashtag – I guess in defiance. Which I found a little tasteless but I get it and I agree on the core of their point: that all of these deaths are equally important. Of course they are.
But something about Phillip Hughes’ accident struck a chord in all of us – cricket lovers or even cricket dislikers (guilty as charged). He wasn’t just a cricketer. He was a young man that lost his life in an instant, playing the sport he loves. One minute here. Next minute gone. So innocently.
And maybe that’s what it is. The innocence of it all. There was no terrorism to condemn. No evil husband or partner to blame. No horrendous parents to suspect. No drink driver to lock up. No drug to lay guilt. No addict to judge. No coward puncher to prosecute.
Maybe we just are, albeit slowly, becoming all too used to the senseless crimes. I mean. We’ll never get used to it, exactly. Just maybe the stories are too many. Too heartbreakingly regular.
Of course, #PutOutYourBats is just one of many social media movements aimed at achieving good in the world. #YesAllWomen #BringBackOurGirls and various Make Up Free campaigns are some that spring to mind.
Social media can generate a special kind of global unity. And amazing what the right cause – a cause that clutches at the heartstrings of millions around the world – can do to create change, offer support and in the case of Phil Hughes, show respect.
Sometimes social media feels like it’s full of baddies. And it can be awful and horrible and heartbreaking. And sometimes the world, being but a button away, becomes too close, too small, for comfort.
But damn. When it’s good, it’s sensational.
Did you #PutOutYourBats? What do you love and hate about social media?All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x