Social media is toxic to relationships. This goes without saying, especially since the advent and continuing growth of social media as a medium of communication. The more we use it, the more we come into contact with it and the more we come into contact with those who use it to hurt or harm us.
But one doesn’t necessarily see this toxicity coming straight out of the social-networking software. I’ve often thought that the toxicity in social interaction arises from an awareness of how easy it is to be mean and how much easier it is to make people feel guilty for not saying, doing or thinking the same things. We are quick to judge and condemn others and our own over-inner desire to find fault in others also contributes to toxicity.
Another contributor to toxicity in media is the ease with which negative stories can be spread. Even the reporting of events by mainstream media can result in damaging stories appearing in social media in a short period of time. A story in Business Insider that was reportedly “verified” as being true has been spread virally across various media and social media venues. Not only was the original Business Insider article false but the “verification” offered by the author was also largely incorrect.
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It is easy to see how gossip, misinformation and half-truths can spread so quickly online. Online social media is one of the best places to spread toxic information. Many people are not comfortable with toxicity and the ability to link to someone’s Twitter or Facebook account without their permission is also a factor. It becomes too easy for individuals who do not feel them to check their facts to pass along misinformation.
Toxicity can also arise from the inability to have patience. Those who cannot stand another person getting angry at them will latch on to any opportunity to get even with that person. Once their anger gets out of control, they will go to the Internet and spread their toxicity. It is important to be aware that one can have all the rage in the world but one cannot act on that rage because one may get hurt. That is why it is also very important to be assertive when talking to others.
Toxic individuals know how to handle toxicity in general. They know how to “manage” their emotions. The fact that someone is using negativity in an attempt to sway a conversation or alter the course of one’s personal or professional life is not one of those things. In order to manage toxicity, one must first understand toxicity and how it can affect one’s life. One of the biggest problems with toxicity is that those affected do not usually realize that they are affected until it is too late. As a result, there is a higher risk of depression, anxiety and stress.
One of the main reasons why social media is toxic is that many users fill their feeders with inflammatory material that fuels an identity based frenzy. This means that they become targets for those who want them dead or afraid. Those who go on “toxin diets” will literally starve themselves to death as a way to purge them of the toxin. Those who become mired in identity based rage often do not realize that they are doing anything wrong. They believe that they are doing the right thing by being a target. Their sense of identity is so strong that they believe that by being a target or by acting out on social media will help them rise up above the rest of the world.
It is important to remember that social media is only one aspect of a person’s life. It does not include everything about that person and it certainly does not mean that it replaces other forms of interaction. However, it definitely can impact them negatively. It is important for anyone who uses social media to remember that it is just one part of who they are. It is important for everyone to remain calm and take control of their social media.
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