Social media has both positive and negative effects on society. In today's age, the Internet is often used as a tool to insult others and spew words of hatred. People often hide behind their keyboards because it is easier than confronting someone simply because they are scared. Social media users, especially tweeters, can be plain mean, whether they are indirectly offending a colleague they passed on the way to class, or calling out a specific celebrity out of jealousy.
Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segment on his late night show displays exactly how common insulting tweets are. On his show, Kimmel has celebrities read mean tweets about themselves written by random tweeters. The celebrities poke fun at the insults and seem to take them with a grain of salt, although some still show a little bit of hurt in their eyes when they read them. Some celebrities have to deal with hundreds of insults a day, forcing themselves to become used to it. Luckily for them, they also receive just as many–if not more–compliments. Like celebrities, anyone who faces mean words through Facebook, Twitter or any form of social media in general should learn to ignore the comments and keep their heads held high.
"I use Twitter for my friends, not celebrities and negativity," says senior Caroline Harvey, who seems to have her tweeting priorities straight.
People should think twice before posting negative or abusive words online. Not only can it hurt the person they are writing about, but the consequences are serious. Mean tweets and posts have caused people to get in trouble with the law, friendships to break up and even caused people to lose their jobs. Just recently, a White House official was fired for insulting colleagues on Twitter. As a professional, one must watch what they put on the Internet, especially when it pertains to their professional associates.
Mean words can really hurt people and tear down their self-esteem. This often happens to young adults, who are regular victims of online bullying. Sure, the computer can be a great way to communicate with friends, but it is also a black hole full of offensive remarks, fighting words and pain. Twitter especially is a playground for backhanded compliments and direct insults and arguments. Just recently, NBC News Chicago reported a story of a suburban Chicago mother who demanded that Twitter reveal the authors of the two accounts bullying her daughter about her weight.
"I think mean tweets are another form of bullying and it needs to stop," says sophomore Alexis Elefteriou. "If someone did this to me, my self-esteem would go down and I'd feel like I wasn't good enough; that is probably why people hurt themselves when they are bullied online."
It's unfortunate that social media gives bullies the opportunity to hurt people anonymously via the Internet. Such tweets can destroy one's confidence and cause depression or even thoughts of suicide. Relentless bullying can push people to the brink. That's why it is important for tweeters to understand what Twitter is for. It's not a bashing ground, but merely a social one used to share daily activities and good news. Think twice before sending out a mean tweet, even if it's only to a celebrity everyone has feelings.