I have always avoided controversial and political discussions on social media. I find i get extremely irritated at the ignorant comments and conversations that just seem unproductive. Further, it is in these conversations, online, that allows such idea of being a lot “tougher” behind a computer screen to really show through. However, as I discuss this issue with my ECMP335 class as well as consider some insightful messages from my professor and her colleague, I have developed some contradictions to my own thinking.
Does it fall under the idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Even if these comments are ignorant and extremely and painfully sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic etc., it is still having the conversation. The more we talk about it, or perhaps post about it, the more we making the issue a topic to talk about which is ultimately presenting the idea that it is worth talking about. The main resistance for me, personally, is that I fear I do not always have the facts or knowledge to “argue” my opinion. However, to reference Weistheimer which is discussed here, in order to be a justice oriented (digital) citizen, presenting these opinions as a way to take action are crucial. Some people may argue that social media is not a place for this, but making social media a place to only talk about memes and selfies implies that issues of inequalities do not effect oneself, which is arguably seen as privilege.
The thought discussed here reinforces the idea that silence is oppressive in itself. Throughout my educational career as an undergrad, I firmly believe in this statement. Those who do no talk about oppression and inequalities are those who is does not explicitly effect. If I stay silent, my life does not significantly change good or bad. However, for any marginalized or minority group, if they stay silent, they will never have an equal opportunity for success and justice.
But technology as a vehicle to be an advocate and an activist for this is difficult to comprehend because of the fact mentioned above about being behind a screen. As well, many people (at times, myself included) may feel like social media is not an accurate representation of what we truly care about. Perhaps it does matter what social media account we are talking about. For instance, my twitter account displays resources and articles about social justice whereas my Facebook account does not have as much as a voice for that. The reason for this is the people who are affiliated with these accounts. Should it matter? I think this is a very interesting topic, and one I plan to keep in mind when reading and posting. Digital citizenship is a part of my life, and it is only going to become more prominent in the future. Therefore, addressing and understanding the fact that beliefs and values around social justice must expand to the web.