I saw a disturbing video on Facebook. Well, it is not the first, and surely, with how social media users are behaving, will not be the last.
This video is of a woman who used a carpooling service complaining and giving the driver a tongue-lashing for making her wait for some minutes, because of her own error. The driver is commendable for his respectful but firm handling of the situation. There was another passenger who had a not-so-friendly exchange with the woman because of her manners. This other passenger kept his cool all the while he was telling the woman off. He was also surreptitiously taking a video of the incident. The woman was sitting in front beside the driver, and the other passenger was at the back so the recording was easily done. Of course the video was uploaded on FB for the world to see.
The one who took the video is unknown to me but I got to see it because it has been shared and reposted many times. No wonder, the woman in the video was severely criticized by people she does not know and who do not know her.
This video got me thinking again of how people’s behavior, the best and worst, are magnified in social media, how social media users are very quick to pass judgment on people they do not know, and solely on the basis of one video, picture, or post. Moreover, I cannot help but wonder if the taking and posting of the video were justified because of the woman’s crassness.
The woman in question is unknown to me. Certainly, I am not defending or justifying her actions. She should not have treated the driver the way she did even if it was his fault, but especially since it was hers. No matter if she was having a bad day (something we all have), taking it out on the driver is wrong. If she were a friend of mine, I certainly would give her a piece of my mind as well.
But the questions remain, were the taking and posting of the video justified? What was the motive of the other passenger in doing such? Note that since he was taking the video (or knew that a video recording was being done), he was in control. Thus, he knew he should not do as the woman was doing. What good could come out of this action? What about the extremely negative reactions? Do they constitute online bullying? Was the incident of public import and interest that it needed to be shown on social media? Was the woman’s right to privacy violated?
This particular woman is marked as evil. She will carry that for a long time since the internet is unforgiving in matters like this. Hopefully, she gets out of this whole, and LEARN her lesson.
If the woman was clearly committing a crime, it becomes the duty of the other passenger to record the incident and report the same to authorities. Maybe then, posting it online to warn people and call the attention of authorities, is not only justified but necessary. In this case, however, what crime was being committed? The woman did wrong. But was it a crime?
Obviously, the taking and posting of the video were without the woman’s knowledge and permission. Common courtesy dictates that we do not invade people’s privacy. There is even a law on this. I consider the recording and posting as discourteous to say the least. Was it a violation of the woman’s right to privacy? This is for lawyers to answer.
I cannot see any good thing that can happen by the other passenger’s use of social media against this woman. If the aim is to avenge the driver by publicly humiliating and hurting her, then he succeeded. She was being criticized and castigated left and right as if she is a totally bad person. This must hurt. But, is this the way to go in cases like this?
If the motive of the posting to garner lots of likes and reposts, perhaps this guy succeeded. However, this just illustrates how powerful social media has become to the point of being able to “control” and influence our actions.
There is no question that socmed users generally derive pleasure from the high number of likes, reposts, retweets, and reactions on posts. It has become a popularity contest that some go to the extent of carefully building a socmed persona that may not be reflective of who they actually are in real life. Many actively seek out likes and reactions, sometimes, at the expense of other. This is not fair.
It is disturbing that many no longer put boundaries on what can and cannot be posted online. We now rarely concern ourselves with how our online posts may affect others. Basic good manners and right conduct (GMRC) is sorely lacking. Many are becoming irresponsible social media practitioners—in our desire for social media “popularity.”
The Netflix series “Black Mirror” comes to mind. This series is about how modern technology, particularly Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is becoming very powerful to the point of being able to control people. One episode particularly struck me hard. This was the one where people’s lives are literally controlled by the “rate” or “grade” that other social media users give them.
In this society, one’s opportunities like employment, admission to restaurants and other establishments, qualifying for loans, services one can avail of, etc. are determined by the average “grade” one garners from others. One fails if one does not make the cut. Thus, people are ALWAYS mindful of the way they look, smile, what they eat, say, and do. In this setting, the “grading system” in social media controls people. In short, to make the needed grade, people cease to be who they really are and are always play acting.
They become robots imprisoned within the existing notion of what a “likable person” is. They are out to please everyone because anyone can pull their “grade” or “rating” down. This can result in losing opportunities they enjoy.
Extreme? Perhaps, but look closely into people’s behavior online we will see that somehow, to a much lesser degree, this is already happening. We do what we can to boost our posts in the pursuit of those likes and reactions, at times, without regard for others.
We need to set boundaries, parameters. We need to practice good old GMRC offline and online. We need to be more responsible and honest with who and what we are in our real and virtual lives. We should be careful to not be controlled by social media. Rather, we should use it for our common good.
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