Farewell...in a good way...you've made me weep.
Saturday 20 October 2012
This morning started off so well. Staring at a fast-approaching departure time for Paris and deciding to ignore potential Pffts, Ahems' and Lulz-at-my-expense I decided to do my ‘Farewells’ today.
I did not get very far.
Within a few minutes I was bawling my eyes out - consoling myself with a hot muffin and glass of red - or was it the other way around?
Everyone was being so damn kind and thoughtful and loving that I should have been on a high(way) to Heaven…and here I was blubbering.
Not sure which had the effect – the red or the muffin - but regardless, it set me thinking about the nature of ‘weeping’…and the power of Social Media.
Since I joined the Twittersphere a year ago, I’ve done a great deal of it –weeping, that is… some of it from joy… some from empathy for poor souls undergoing hardship… and lately and probably most telling…some from sheer exasperation. Same sort of tears – vastly different instigators.
I’ve seen arguments of late – or is it wishful thinking - mainly from a few Mainstream Media sources of the irrelevance, nay, absolute impotence of Social Media in its ability to faithfully reflect and report on, the thoughts, feelings and political implications of the ‘real common man’ – you and me.
A few Mainstream Print journalists have gone head to head (or should that be finger to finger) against Internet bloggers at 100 paces; perhaps not realizing that other journalists are getting on with it and straddling both worlds with aplomb. [This so reminds me of the 50s and 60s radio actors who feared that those who could perform equally well in radio as they could in that new-fangled television, were going to kill their golden goose.]
Like it or not, we’re all aware that the recent digital uprising from certain Joint-Destroyers against a certain loose-lipped Shock-Jock has startled the doubters by its ferocity and effectiveness.
Sponsors who’ve removed their advertising from within range of said Shock-Jock are very clear that they feel the people have spoken – and significantly so.
But only days ago I noted the suggestion from within Twitter itself, that the campaign against said Shock-Jock was ‘a tad Big Brotherish’ with overtones of Russian Spy movies rather than that well-known Reality Show.
Is there any justification to be had for people in a community to rise up via Social Media and attempt to stifle the right for Shock Jocks and their ilk to say what they like?
I say ‘Yes’.
If the safeguard of stopping to think of ramifications caused by their words does not come from within the very hearts of those who say them – from whence should it come? As yet – no set rules have had any effect; surely if a community feels someone has gone beyond the bounds of the standard of decency they wish to have in their midst; if they feel that that someone is inciting anti-social actions in others – then they have the right to have their say too.
Let’s look at the point here: If we are in any position of communication-power; be it via print-media, radio, television or the internet…that power (amplified one zillion times of that put out by the funny, sweet and sad little tweets that I received this morning) enables us to make people weep...distressingly.
And who weeps in this way?
I dare you to show me one person on my Twitter Timeline who is not at some stage of their lives going to either: Grieve for the passing of a loved one; agonize over a departed lover; be bullied; despair at a child’s illness or her inability to again conceive; fight off violence; know poverty; feel guilty, unloved, neglected, shy or debilitated by depression…without weeping about it at the same time as trying to lead a ‘normal’ life.
These are our vulnerable times – the times when one word, normally dismissed can push us over the edge. One thoughtless act, one jibe too many, one more show of neglect.
Did Malala Yousafzai weep as they shot her in the head for daring to campaign for girls to be educated?
Did Amanda Todd weep as she put that rope around her neck because of cyber-bullying?
Did Jill Meagher weep as the hands of another took her life away because she chose to walk alone?
Let us ALL think well before we dash off that last word on air… in a tweet …or on paper and ask ourselves this:
Will my words incite someone to anti-social behaviour or make someone weep?
You - my Social Media friends, have embraced me overwhelmingly - and this, on my point of departure is my thank you to you.
I love that you know I cannot hear and yet you send me YouTube Songs; I love that some of you remember the bond we had when you were children; I love your words of kindness and your confidence that I can still mend a graze on your heart with a kiss through the air; I love that you send me links to your own efforts of word and image or articles of great scholarship – (and your faith that I will understand them).
You’re from every walk of life and every level of education; you’re every shade of green regardless of your opinion of deity; and you are as politically diverse as it’s possible to be.
You have (perhaps unwisely) given oxygen to my ridiculous sense of the ridiculous. You have laughed with me, shared secrets and tut-tutted with me. You have let me agonize, hypothesize, empathise and advertise. Above all – you’ve shown such respect and love for one who teeters (but is not yet there) on the edge of the Chasm of The Wisdom of Years that I again fight back the tears.
I DO love you all.
So - Social Media’s irrelevant?
Don’t make me weep!