There is no doubt social media is a powerful tool, available at our fingertips. With this power comes responsibility.
We are the first generation to use social media in the way we do. Having this power has meant we haven’t always seen it be used for good. Trolling and online bullying is rife on various online platforms. Whether we use social media for personal or business purposes, we have come to accept trolling as part of being on these platforms.
In memorarium, there is launching the first Social Media Kindness Day in memory of the late Caroline Flack, who suffered horrible abuse via social media. It is being held on Monday 9th November, 2020 – on what would have been Caroline’s 41st birthday.
People say things on social media that they would never say to a person’s face. This is because it is not possible to see the person’s reaction to the comments, as they would do in person. Due to this, trolling is becoming a real problem and even taking lives.
After the tragic death of Caroline Flack, her words Be Kind became a hashtag and used throughout social media. However, they had been quickly forgotten, especially during the pandemic.
We hope for Social Media Kindness Day to become a movement and more than just a hashtag. The narrative ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’ is not a useful one. By not feeding the trolls, you’re allowing the trolling to continue.
Therefore, we’re asking people that when you see trolling or negativity online, to call it out (with kindness). There are tools available for this on our website which people can download to their phones and send, if they don’t feel comfortable with saying anything.
When there is trolling, there is someone on the receiving end. So we are asking people to check up on the person who is receiving the negativity.
Just as negativity can kill, kindness can save lives.
By everyone doing this, we hope to wipe out the majority of the negativity and make social media a kinder and more enjoyable place for all.
We can’t save the lives of those already taken through the unkindness experienced on social media. But we can all help in stopping even more being taken. We all have a responsibility to do this. If we are on social media, then we all have a part to play in making sure it’s a kind and safe space. We have to lead by example for the next generation of users, so they don’t expect trolling to be a part of being on social media.
We have a pledge counter on our website, where we are asking people to pledge to play their part in making social media a kinder place for all.
Who's getting involved?
— Holly Matthews (@hollymatthews) October 11, 2020
To support the initiative, we are also asking people to take a selfie of them doing the sign for love in British Sign Language to post on social media. In the caption to tag 3 friends asking them if they pledge to play their part in making social media a kinder place for all.