Social Media users need to be more respectful of others’ ideas

Gavin Gaston, Staff Videographer

Respect should go both ways. Everyone knows the golden rule, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” 

But with the ever expanding reach of the internet and social media, that’s hard to keep in mind. People’s voices can simply be muted by being blocked by other users. If you don’t want to listen, you don’t have to. But sometimes, maybe you should.

Everyone has been in an argument at some point in their lives. Some are simple, docile arguments over what restaurant to eat at. Others could be enough to start an all-out fight. And, somewhere in the middle of all that, is social media. 

Users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can argue back and forth in the comment sections of posts, claiming their view is superior to others. While that in itself may not be a problem, being stubborn and unwilling to listen other’s thoughts and ideas is. Being open minded keeps you from being shallow and stubborn, allowing you to be a better person in the process.

Imagine this: You’re in an argument with a friend over a current political affair. Perhaps his feelings about a certain candidate are stronger than your feelings for another candidate. While you both voice your likes and concerns about the two candidates, your friend is unwilling to listen to your side of the argument. He claims that his opinion is the only one that matters and that you’re 100% wrong. 

This is a huge problem with social media, especially when it comes to politics. Due to the 2016 election, among other things, social media has been more divided than ever. If you support the president, you’re called a bigot, amongst other things. If you support Bernie Sanders, for example, you’re called a communist. The two sides are very polarized, and social media only adds fuel to the fire, by allowing users to stay anonymous and by keeping the conversations mostly unmoderated.

And it’s not just politics either, it could be over anything. The best Marvel character, your favorite chain restaurant to eat at, the list goes on and on. While it’s perfectly fine for people to have their own opinions on whatever it is, they have to see the other side of the argument as well. Simply looking the other way instead of hearing someone out just shows how stubborn people can be.

Another great example of the lack of respect was the death of basketball star Kobe Bryant. Thousands upon thousands of people went to Twitter to give their thanks and condolences to Kobe’s family. However, some also used the platform to voice their disdain for Kobe, and past allegations about him. What did it lead to? Accounts being deactivated out of fear of personal safety, addresses and names being leaked; all because a few people didn’t celebrate Kobe’s life and legacy. Did the leakers listen to other person’s argument? Nope, because they were too caught up in their own feelings to care. Instead they took drastic measures to make the user’s life miserable, by leaking their personal information. 

A large reason why social media fuels these kinds of fires is the many popular communities on them. Friendly rivalries are one thing, but to say you despise another group is outrageous. Examples of this many include alt-right vs. liberal groups, video game communities vs. video game hackers, and so on. Places like Twitter give them the places to voice their unmoderated opinions, unless that tweet is reported for targeted hate amongst other things.

 There is no reason that this kind of disrespect should be displayed online. Respect should go both ways, not just to one person and not given back. Online social places like Twitter do need to allow free speech, however, when people speak, they need to listen and respect their fellow opinions. Would you simply ignore someone because they had a different opinion than you?