Social media – is it ‘…a seething swamp of vitriol…?

‘If ever we needed proof that Twitter was a seething swamp of vitriol and abuse, this appears to be it’.

This was the retort from Sydney Morning Herald journalist Hannah Francis (@han_francisco) – Her line was in response to Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence chat bot experiment, Tay. An experiment which managed to scoop-up the ugly side of social media!

Let us be in no doubt, social media has a very ugly, dark side. Elements so ugly they should be outed for what they are – destructive!

Social media is now a reflector of life with no filter.

It mirrors life for what it is and this presents new challenges.

How could it not, with 2.307 billion active users across the world. A space where the masses mash the polarities of #thinspiration, #terror, #politics, the indulgent #selfie with your next #goodfeed or the lastest share of your #kidsachievements!

What you choose to consume, create and share is your choice but it does not always have to be destructive. Nor as black and white as the opening quote.

So where is the good amongst the commentary of the ugly?

They are online as well and it is time for us to #pushpositives. Let us ‘out’ the many wonderful role models and balance the negative skew which dominates the commentary of social media.

In my work, schools are the perfect place to to see positivity in action. A school with the ‘right’ approach can quickly position itself to bring down the walls of negative parent perception and build inclusive, celebratory communities.

I see schools with ‘tough’ reputations respond beautifully with dynamic, safe, inclusive online communities. Authentic in their approach boring holes through the dinner party commentary of, ‘I’m not sending my kids there it is full of ‘housos’, ‘drugos’ and ‘white trash’!

Social media is dynamic and open to all!

So let us ‘square the ledger’,  find a good news story, #pushpositivity, as all online is not, ‘…a seething swamp of vitriol and abuse…’

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