This weekend saw the world rocked by the tragic events in Oslo, the shock news of Amy Winehouse’s death and sadness surrounding the Chinese rail disaster. These incidents combined with the on-going plight in Somalia saw the nation united in grief.
A world united in sadness was not, however, one united in opinion as anyone monitoring Facebook and Twitter during the unfolding of the events would have seen.
Within just minutes of news of the passing of one of the UK’s most talented musicians breaking, users of social media platforms became embroiled in debate as to the significance of one event over that of another.
The comments which emerged, including distasteful jokes (which I will not repeat), did not surprise me. What did, however, was the response of the authors of such comments, whom appeared genuinely surprised by the disapproving and angry response of fellow users.
“My profile, my opinion, I’m entitled to it” was one such response.
The answer is of course yes, that is true, but it is naive to think that posts of such a sensitive matter will not provoke a response and users should be reminded that social media platforms are a public place. In the same way that you would not expect to walk into a crowded bar and loudly voice a potentially provocative opinion without being challenged, the same is true online.
Whilst it is a free world, social etiquette does, I was warmed to read, still exist online. The overarching opinion of most users this weekend being that “there is no ranking of tragedy.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Should you wish to support the work of those in Somalia visit http://www.dec.org.uk/ or text 70000 to donate £5 to the Disasters Emergency Committee.