I’ll be honest. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I contemplate deleting one of my outlets at least once a week. I love sharing pictures and parts of my life on there, and I also love seeing parts of other people’s lives as well. As much as I’d love to be ‘off the grid,’ I’d miss seeing some people on Instagram or Facebook. Let’s be honest, with the daily ‘hustle and bustle’ of our lives, that is the only place we can see them. There are some people I wouldn’t make time to sit and have lunch with, but I like seeing them happy on my feed and enjoy their updates.
That being said, the parts of social media and the internet that I don’t like are the jokes, and the memes. Whenever something happens in the celebrity world, or a regular person who goes viral, the memes blow up. If you aren’t familiar, a meme is an Internet joke that is shared through social media. In this day and age, with cameras everywhere, anyone can become a meme. You know you’ve seen them, and we’ve all had a laugh. Some of them are lighthearted, and usually don’t cause anyone any hurt. But other times, they can.
I don’t usually keep up on celebrity gossip because I don’t like it. Blog sites and social media will blow up a situation, without any of the facts. And even if they do have facts, I don’t see how it is any of my business. Yesterday I couldn’t go on any social media outlet without hearing about a certain situation involving Grammy-nominated artist, Kehlani. I won’t go into details because I refuse to promote that type of malicious gossip on my blog. (I’m sure you can find out somewhere on the Internet.) The memes and the jokes were rolling in on. I only saw a few, but they weren’t pretty. Kehlani is only twenty years old, and relatively new to this level of fame in her career. The night ended yesterday with her attempting to claim her life.
I don’t know Kehlani on any type of personal level. I’m sure I can name only one song. However, it doesn’t have to take being a fan to feel hurt about this. At what point do we realize that celebrities are people, too? No amount of money or fame can change the fact that at the end of the day, we are all just human. You can be ignorant to the social media, but you can’t always build a wall to shield yourself emotionally from the cruel things people say.
People are quick to say, “Cyber bullying isn’t real. It’s just the Internet, turn off your computer and walk away.” I call bull on that. You can certainly do that, but you always can’t escape the repercussions of things like this. Let’s say you are a celebrity. You’ve gone blind to all the media and the memes, but now your friends and family see something like this without having a chance to speak with you, not knowing what is real and what isn’t. You have fans that look up to you and now you have to worry if you’ve lost your fanbase. And this is just on a “celebrity level.” What if you’re just a regular person who has gone viral? Strangers coming up to you referencing a joke you had no part in. Your coworkers or your boss seeing it, and the embarrassment you can feel at work. If you are still in school, it can be worse. Kids can be so cruel. There’s so many levels to this we don’t think about when typing 140 characters to add fuel to the fire.
I know people say my generation, the “millennials” are babies. That we need to suck it up and move on. But this internet thing is at its peak now. You can’t understand the severity of something you have never experienced. There are even people my age who think bullying is not real. I know we get caught up in our own lives and issues, but we have to keep conscious that other people exist outside of ourselves. We are not the only ones who feel anger, hurt, and pain. We also have to keep in mind that people handle different things differently. Something that doesn’t bother you can really harm someone else.
Things like this make me want to hit the “Delete Account” button ASAP. With good comes the bad, and sometimes the bad is really bad. But things like this also let me see the good in people, the people who stand up when things are wrong, and fight for what is right. This is just my opinion and I do not have all the answers. There can be sides I am not seeing. But I want to leave you with this idea: instead of retweeting or sharing that funny meme. Share a positive story instead, and see how that makes you feel.