When we engage with social media, we can choose to be silent or we can choose to speak up. Like many, I have a mixed relationship with social media. On one hand, I cringe when it is used to perpetuate bullying or power over anyone...and yet sometimes I bless it for the amazing stories and/or moments that are shared. Both of these uses have a relationship with power; the first - power over; the second – empowerment of self and others. I know of many who have deleted their Facebook accounts because of the negative experiences they have had (and believe me, I have considered this a few times myself) but I sometimes wonder if it isn't a case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water"...especially after having read so many heart-warming, heart-breaking and often inspiring 'shares' over the holidays. Used wisely, social media can be a means of uplifting ourselves and others; it can also be an effective way of alerting a community of souls of real danger (like a ‘storm watch’) so they can be better prepared to ‘weather the storm’.
Choosing to be silent or choosing to speak – both of these are functions of ‘freedom of speech’…something that is rightly touted as a basic civil right (but is sometimes, sadly, abused). We have the right and are empowered to use social media (or any form of media) to share experiences, to sound alarm bells or to shine a light on the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room and, perhaps, induce a ‘wake-up call’ for necessary social change. We also have the power to choose to engage with social media or not…or at least how often and what kind of media we will engage with. We have the right to choose silence rather than be forced into silence as a means of perpetuating the imbalance of power. Today I felt compelled to speak; tomorrow I may choose silence. However, I will never allow myself to be silenced by bullies.
“Injustice and corruption will never be transformed by keeping them hidden, but only by bringing them out into the light and confronting them with the power of love.” (Martin Luther King, Jr).
1. "Cunt: A Declaration of Independence" by Inga Muscio