Hashtags can be extraordinarily powerful in addressing the social media Mean Mob Mentality. All Australians saw the power of #illridewithyou after the Lindt Seige
Humans are unique in that we are the only animals that can conceptualize and think about ourselves abstractly. We are blessed with the ability to imagine ourselves in hypothetical situations and contemplate the impact our actions have on others.
‘We are all going to die- what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by life’s trivialities: we are eaten up by nothing” Charles Bubowski
I was never bullied as a child and didn’t experience it until I joined Twitter. But I am not blaming Twitter. In the end I handled it by avoiding Twitter. Social media also does a lot of good. Yes Social Media provides a vehicle for the bullies, and the mean mob mentality, to do damage far and wide. YES Facebook, Twitter el al should take their role seriously and come up with some genuine solutions.
So how do we as individuals and as a collaborative collective do our bit to limit the damage it does and gain emotional resilience for ourselves and those around us.
My experience showed me
- Bullies will never go away. They don’t think they are doing anything wrong. They think it is their right to express their opinion no matter how hurtful it may be to others
- Bullies attract followers. I don’t understand the Mean Mob followers. Perhaps in my case they were people who didn’t like me or what I stand for and saw it as a way of telling me very publicly.
- Your social media supporters can be a lot smarter than you. They don’t engage the bullies. They start their own hashtag. In my case it was #strongwomen
How do I cope?
Some strategies I have include:
- I cultivate healthy, genuine friendships. People who care about me. People who don’t judge me. People who support me
- I have some great mentors. Professionals whose career journey gives them the expertise to support and advise me
- I read great books that help put it all into perspective and embrace it.
‘Happiness requires struggle. It grows from problems. Joy doesn’t just sprout out of the ground like daisies and rainbows. Real, serious, lifelong fulfillment and meaning must be earned through the choosing and managing of our struggles. Whether you suffer from anxiety or loneliness or obsessive-compulsive disorder or a dickhead boss who ruins half of your waking hours every day, the solution lies in the acceptance and active engagement of that negative experience—not the avoidance of it, not the salvation from it.”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
I don’t have all the answers but I know as adults its our role to be part of the solution. We can all lead by example
“The best leaders remain true to their deepest values. They lead their own life and others follow.
It is reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller:
‘What is my job on the planet? What is it that needs doing, that I know something about, that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?’
Bad faith occurs when peer pressure and social forces combine to have us disown our own values. It is an accommodation we make with society to fit in, a psychological ‘selling out’ in which we forsake our own freedom and self- expression for the conformity of the crowd. Worse, it stands between our self and ourselves. It stops us knowing our true nature, which cauterizes our mana.”
Legacy – The Story of the All Blacks by James Kerr
How do we help young people embrace the mantra “The more I peer into the darkness, the brighter life gets, the quieter the world becomes, and the less unconscious resistance I feel to, well anything” and stay emotionally resilient? This is the challenge that the #stopbullying and #doitforDolly campaigns are tackling They are sending a strong message around the world that many, many people are putting their hands up to be part of the solution. Well done , what a great legacy you are leaving – I am barracking for you
Some wise words I have drawn inspiration from
- Legacy – The Story of the All Blacks by James Kerr
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- Composure by Zoë Routh
- Moments by Zoë Routh
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide get help immediately. Choose life not suicide. Call Lifeline 13 11 14 or 000 if life is in danger.