Social media; are you responsible for what you share?
22 January 2015, 09:37
Nairobi - With the advent of social media as a channel of communication, news source, marketing, public relations, sales and so on, many Kenyans have embraced the same.
With over 4,000,000 Kenyans on Facebook alone, now more than ever in our country’s history information circulation is on all-time high.
While social media has been used for what would generally be considered as good causes often, there have been instances where individuals have used the same avenue to spew hatred and animosity amongst communities, amongst brands.
In the recent past, there has been an increased rate of apparent ‘misuse’ of social media channels. Individuals have been arrested and prosecuted for purportedly undermining others on social media.
What there appears to be in all this hullabaloo though is that there doesn’t seem to be a sieve of what can be shared or not shared on social media.
Who draws the line?
What may be acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to the other.
We come from different backgrounds and cultures.
What may seem like an undermining of another may be the complete opposite in a different case.
Images of dead people, graphic images of accidents, medical conditions and mutilations have become common place on social media.
Snide remarks depicting other communities or individuals as inferior are the norm.
Responsible use of social media is an effort that begins with every individual.
While the government should probably move with speed to specify communication that should be or not allowed on social media and have some filter that is generally acceptable, we should also be responsible.
Messages shared on social media have very great potential of reaching many people in an instant.
Read Also: Social media hatred, incitement will burn Kenya says MP
When levelling accusations at a public official or other, it is important to question, is this the right channel to use?
While they may be embarrassed about it, does it help much?
The rise of sensational blogs with the brains behind them aiming to get as much traffic to them and in effect get people to advertise on the same and so on has brought about an equal rise of irresponsible citizen journalism where everyone is in a clamor to be the first to break a ‘juicy’ story with half-baked fast or sometimes, with no facts at all.
It is a dangerous trend that should be checked.
Social media has given us the power to constantly and without any sieve, air our thoughts.
But with great power also comes great responsibility.
We are all responsible for what we share on a day to day basis - on our personal timelines, on others’ timelines, on news pages and everywhere on social media.
The government may not have systems to clamp down the individuals misusing social media and we may protest when they do because it is a very grey area; we should exercise responsibility.
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Pancras Mutuma is a Digital Marketing and Public Relations Consultant.
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