18 July 2014 - Dave Jackson

Social media: Big mouth strikes again

Online personalities bug me. See how I use the word ‘personalities’ and not ‘people’. More often than not, people use their alter egos online instead of their real personality. Maybe it’s because they don’t like themselves, but let’s not go there right now.

So let’s look at some extremes on social media channels.

Trolls bug me, but not as much as they used to. They are easy to spot, easy to get angry with but just as easy to ignore. I get the feeling trolling will be a thing of the past in a few years… once everyone learns how to spot a troll and if we ignore them, they won’t have anything to feed from. I have had to stop reading the comments on thejournal.ie as they make me want to smash things. If you wanted to put anyone off coming to Ireland, let them loose on thejournal.ie for 10 mins and they will change their travel plans pretty quickly and ask why Irish people can be so nasty and negative.

Then we have the big mouths. They’re always controversial, arrogant, use bad language and can be aggressive. They will do anything to get attention, it’s an attention addiction. These people are hungry for numbers. They collect numbers likes nerds collect stamps. As many followers, likes, retweets, impressions as they can get. They will say or do anything just to add to the numbers, at any cost, even if it means people hate them, even if they hate themselves… “FEED ME”.

On Facebook it’s a different world. This is where everyone is exposed and presented in front of the real people they see on a regular basis. Everyone is so nice and polite! This is a troll free zone and everyone is so positive. The issue here is the self branding that is going on. “Look at me, I’m so happy!”. “Look at me, I’m so cool”. “Look at my amazing life”. “Luv ya hun”.

So before I start sounding very cynical, I just want to ask the question; why don’t I actually know anyone who is like any of these 3 examples in real life? I quite like real people, so why do a lot of people not choose to be real online?

I think of all the online channels, Twitter is probably the most real but at the same time far from it. You are not trying to impress your mates because all the other people who follow you will think you are strange. You won’t troll because people won’t follow you and you won’t be a big mouth because people will think you are a big mouth.

We are all guilty of being fake online to a certain extent, including myself but let’s all make an effort to get real online. It will give us a renewed faith in humanity.