Speak up. Educate. Share Responsibly

Responsibility on social media

Speak up. ThinkB4Uclick. Share Responsibly

Picture this scenario. Your phone beeps. You open the message and as you go through it your stomach sinks. The content is offensive to you and you wonder what your next step should be. It could be a message that is perpetrating misogynistic, tribalistic or racist stereotypes.

Are you aware that you can take back your power by telling whoever is responsible to stop sending such content to you? Do you know that this can spark a question in the sender’s mind and make them want to know more about your stance? You can turn this into a perfect opportunity to open a dialogue, and start to educate them about the personal affect and cultural context of their message.

Alternatively, picture this scenario. Your phone beeps. You open the message and your laughter makes you want to fall to the ground because your legs are not capable of supporting you anymore. You find the contents amusing because that misogynistic, tribalistic or racist joke is comic genius.

Are your fingers itching to share this offensive message with others because you think it is entertaining? Are you aware that once you forward a message, you are responsible for spreading that content, and potentially causing harm to people you know?

All it takes is one click to send, and you are transformed from the innocent receiver of an inappropriate message to an amplifier, who has enabled the the same offensive content to spread far and wide.

Have you ever stood on the banks of the River Nile in Juba and shaken your head in disgust at the filth that floats on it? Those unsightly plastic bags and empty water bottles are so annoying. I can bet you always wonder who those individuals are that are spoiling the environment and why do they toss garbage into the Nile so carelessly as if the other people who use that same water don’t matter?

As if they themselves don’t use that water? Imagine if the Nile were the internet and the garbage floating on it represents hate speech on social media, would you be counted among the innocent? If not, what garbage have you figuratively thrown into the Nile and polluted it with? Imagine the ripples along the Nile as your message travels like a stone skipping across the water.

Stop and think about how many people might be negatively affected by your actions in one thoughtless moment. Do you really want to be responsible for promoting disharmony or causing insult and potentially even inciting violence towards other people in your community? Maybe your neighbour, a friend or even family.

What should you do when you receive an offensive message?
A message that *offends your sense of what is right and wrong?
A message that unfairly targets a group of people?
The answer is simple:

Speak up. #ThinkB4Uclick. Share responsibly.

It could be words, an image, video or audio received through various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp. Is the message from a friend, family member or from someone you barely know? It doesn’t matter where the message originates. You have the power to stop it going any further.

People say that sticks and stones may break my bones, that words will never hurt me – but this is not actually true. Your words do have an effect on others.

Speak up. Educate. Share responsibly.

Responsibility on social media is something that many users tend to overlook because there is a false sense of being anonymous. You are hidden behind a screen, as if what happens on social media is not part of reality. Behind every social media message is a person with a conviction, an intention, a certain mindset.

  • Are your personal convictions contributing to the betterment of your society, your neighbour’s wellbeing and your country?
  • Are you standing up for justice, tolerance and understanding?
  • Whenever you can make a stand, do so with compassion, and you will make a difference!

How we respond to these messages changes us from passive consumers of technology to active and conscious creators and generators of change.

For every negative message you receive, send two positive messages.

You have the power. Use it wisely!

Speak up. #ThinkB4Uclick. Share responsibly

*some synonyms for ‘offends’ – insults / affronts / outrages / disgusts / horrifies / hurts / antagonises

Guidelines on responsible use of Social Media
#defyhatenow Social Media Code of Conduct

UNESCO Countering Online Hate Speech

Stopping hate – get the trolls out Guidelines by Media Diversity Institute

#ThinkB4Uclick #defyhatenow #SouthSudan #Peace