There has been lots of negativity around social media recently. Some of it justified. The ‘be kind’ hashtag has been used on Twitter, many people need a lesson in kindness.
Social media has its fair share of hatred, bullying and trolls. The consequences are wide-reaching and many people suffer because of it.
Depression and anxiety are both mental health conditions that can be made worse by social media. I use social media for my writing, but otherwise, I’m not a fan.
What I witnessed last month change this view though.
Whilst scrolling through Twitter I discovered a message from Matt Haig asking if one of his followers could direct message him.
It transpired that one of his followers had tweeted him to say they had taken a bunch of pills, drunk some alcohol and had had enough of life.
What followed was one of the best uses of social media I have ever seen. Everyone that read the tweet was energised to help this person. Not sit and snigger, or troll them with inappropriate comments.
Some twitter users messaged them. Stories of how they had been low themselves, but it got better. Tips to hang in there and seek help. Offers of a friendly chat if they needed it. The compassion flowed and for the first time since its inception the ‘be kind’ hashtag was used appropriately.
The second reaction was for some followers to turn detective. They searched tweets for where they worked. They investigated other social media to see if there were clues. Slowly the clues were gathered and their identity was found. This was then phoned in to the authorities that could help. More than 100 phone calls were received reporting this incident.
The person was found and later their partner tweeted to say, thankfully all was okay. The person was getting the help they needed and thank you. Such a small insignificant phrase that means everything.
There is good, you just have to search it out.
Social media may have a bad reputation. Many of the criticisms of it are justified. This one occasion though showed me that there is also a fair amount of good on it. In this time of great change, good does exist in many people. Sometimes you just have to scratch below the surface to find it.