Can we course-correct this Social Media Train Wreck?

4 min read


Social Media – we love to hate it, and we hate that we love it. It’s an incredible force-for-good modern invention, but it’s also the source of so much frustration, anxiety, upset and misinformation.

To make the world a better place, for us and the young generation’s not yet exposed to social media, we need to get a grip with the tribalism, anger and fear these platforms are aiding and abetting.

Yes, controlling our time on social media is a biggie. But, this short piece talks about three aspects of Social Media etiquette once you have chosen to engage – Calling Out Bad Behaviours, Choosing to Humanize Our Lives, and Thinking Critically.


1. Calling Out Bad Behaviours

Make Social media Good Again

Let’s start with net-negative behaviours. Social Media is an incredible technology. We’re so lucky. But, it’s getting abused – often making it a source of negative vibes and frustration.

As we rely increasingly on these platforms to stay connected – they are becoming the dominant community for many of us. And like a physical community, we need to take collective ownership so that it remains enjoyable, supportive and real. That it does not deteriorate into a hostile and annoying place to be.

So, if you see me or others around you doing any these things, call it out with kindness, care and tact. Hopefully you don’t mind if I do the same.

Oh, and it’s OK to disagree with me. To thoughtfully debate me. To challenge me. That’s what we’d do if we were together. Let’s stop worrying about being shamed and judged. 

  • 🚫 Scaremongering – Sharing content that is designed to induce fear and anxiety. If you’re going to share, please first critically evaluate if it is true.
  • 🚫 Promoting Anger – Sharing content and opinions that project anger or hate you wish to incite in others.
  • 🚫 Shaming – Making people feel bad by explicitly shaming the actions of others, and wishing the worst for them.
  • 🚫 Blaming – Being quick to publicly blame a group of people without doing your research. Don’t elicit online tribalism.
  • 🚫 Virtue Signalling – Me too follow-the-crowd acts of self-righteousness. Please genuinely support people. True care is done on your terms and timeframe, and does not seek out applause.

Let’s make our online experience more enjoyable and positive. Let’s have our kids inherit a technology from us that brings value, versus  something that is lining up to be a mental health disaster.

We don’t need Facebook to censor us or regulate us with restrictive AI and their version of ‘good/true’. We just need to keep our community in check, with kindness.

2. Choosing to Humanize Our Lives

Time to Humanise our lives

Can we empathise with big human metrics? Let me explain where I am going with this…

We’re built to care and look after who we know. We know their name, their face, their story. The power that comes from knowing the struggle and tragedy of a single person can move the world into action.

It’s truly incredible!

But, that energy is not multiplied if we talk about 100’s or 1000’s of nameless people that suffer a tragedy. In actual fact, the energy and empathy is significantly less. What gives?

Let me give you a tangible example. In England, 10,000-13,000 die… EVERY WEEK! From all sorts of causes – some tragic and harrowing, others more peacefully. How do you feel about that? Are you incensed? Are you in uncontrollable pain and anguish as you morn the loss of 10,000 people. Are you struggling to carry on with life?

Compare that to a single person – whether it be someone close to you, or someone loved by the masses… say Princess Diana.

Where is there greater empathy, pain, and suffering? Which gives greater energy to act? The anonymous injustices within the 10,000, or the person you know whose life got cut short by someone or something?

Here’s the reality. We struggle to empathise and care for those that are abstract. That goes for those that are part of a statistic, but also extends to those we know of but don’t see.

Another example. It’s a lot easier  to layoff 10% of your workforce from an office you have never visited, versus just a few people that you physically work closely with.

What do I take from this?

  • You cannot care for those you don’t know.
  • We cannot feel true empathy for a human metric.
  • Physical connection amplifies care.
  • The root cause of online malice is the virtual, distanced and anonymous nature of these communities.

Online relationships cannot replace being in someone’s physical presence. Facebook and Zoom just doesn’t cut it.

Long-term Social distancing, Social Disconnection, lack of Proximity, and over reliance on Online Community and remote Virtual Meet-Ups will erode the care we give AND receive.

These behaviours will DEHUMANIZE our lives.

🤞🏻I hope we return to normal ASAP – especially as the science does not justify a socially distanced world. It never has…

3. Thinking Critically

Critical Thinking on the internet

Lastly, Today more than ever, we need to turn on our Critical Thinking skills.

Not all is what it seems in the click-bait culture… (what do you see in the above image?)

Not all ‘facts’ are true. There is enormous political and personal bias in journalism today. Data is cherrypicked picked to suit the writer.

If you want honest and true information, you will need to do your part – to critically think about what you receive before sharing it along.

What is Critical Thinking?

  1. 🤔 Critical Thinking is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information.
  2. 🤔 Critical thinking requires a clear, often uncomfortable, assessment of the facts, as well as your own bias.
  3. 🤔 Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value. 
  4. 🤔 Critical thinkers will always seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to finding that they do not.
  5. 🤔 Critical thinkers take pride in understanding the truth, before sharing these ideas with others

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