Freedom of speech, freedom of writing and express whatever we feel in an article as long as we have someone to read us, right? Not so these days. As much as we would think of how lucky we are for having available–and for free– a variety of tools and apps to create blogs, art, images, videos, etc., where we can just write about anything and throw it out there in the hopes that we will touch someone with our story, such thought comes with a heavy responsibility.
I grew up in a small city where everyone knew pretty much each other and you couldn’t do anything in the morning without avoiding everyone finding about it by the evening, especially your folks. I always thought that by moving to a bigger city you would be safe because no one knew you or care what you did or didn’t do. Moving away to avoid gossip seemed to work for a while until social media emerged. Anything we say, do, or post, besides of reaching everyone with a connection to the Internet in an instant, forever will stay in cyberspace.
Take the case of Samantha Brick, a British journalist who wrote an article in the Daily Mail titled “‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful” on April 2, 2012 where she reveals that her life has not being easy because she is too beautiful (Brick, 2012). Within hours she became the center of attention and by the next day her article had nearly 5,000 comments from angry men and women reacting to her self-acclaimed beauty. By the very next day, people were creating memes about her, she was the number 1 trend of searches in Google and Facebook and Twitter users created the hashtag #samanthabrickfacts posting nasty comments ridiculing her.
All this within a 72 hour period, from a woman posting her thoughts about herself in a newspaper located across the globe. Whether she is pretty or not, whether life has been hard on her because she is too beautiful and women hater her because of that, the point is the instant and nasty viral reaction towards her from people Brick has never seen and probably never will. Social media is a powerful tool that requires us to think twice what we say, how we say it, and why we say it. As I mentioned before, in the past one could say anything and perhaps get away with it with few people offended. Now? The mouth-to-mouth effect is global and instantaneous through social media. We are all connected and for good or for worse, let’s not brag about something we may regret later.
Brick, S. (2012, April 2). ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful. Retrieved 7 2012, 2012, from MailOnline: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2124246/Samantha-Brick-downsides-looking-pretty-Why-women-hate-beautiful.html