FEATURE: Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me? Can Social Media Head in a Positive Direction in 2020?



Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?


PHOTO CREDIT: @austindistel/Unsplash 

Can Social Media Head in a Positive Direction in 2020?


THIS is a topic that has been on my blog before …


 PHOTO CREDIT: @vheath/Unsplash

and becomes more and more relevant with every passing day. I am putting it back on my blog, because Dua Lipa has just spoken out and asked whether social media is too negative; why can’t it be nicer and a more pleasant space. I guess, with so many people using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it is hard to tackle every case of trolling and abuse. It is a shame musician have to face such negativity. Whilst it is never excusable, certain celebrities and politicians will evoke backlash and criticism because of the things they say. If you are Piers Morgan or someone who says whatever is on his mind, one cannot blame some people getting angry and letting their opinions be felt. I think trolling is wrong in every case, yet there are some people who sort of willingly put themselves in the firing line and do not really care if they offend people. When it comes to music, why is there such antipathy and hatred aimed the way of big stars?! This BBC article brings Dua Lipa into the debate, as she asks why social media has turned into such a pool for hatred:  

Pop star Dua Lipa says social media is a breeding ground for "hate and anxiety".

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she urged users to "be nicer to one another" online, for the greater good

The 24-year-old told host Louise Minchin: "Some days I don't read into the comments.

"Some days maybe I feel little bit more vulnerable and I dive in and I almost go looking for things I don't want to see."



Other popular young stars like Selena Gomez have recently expressed their concern about patterns of behaviour on social media, with the actress describing it as being "terrible" for her generation at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Last month, Dua - whose first name means "love" in her mother tongue, Albanian - called for better mental health care in the creative industries.

Now she's admitted while it's still fun and useful for her to use "amazing" platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, she too has to log off as soon as faceless trolls make it a cause of anxiety.

The One Kiss singer declared it should be everybody's mission online to "to share positivity and encourage kindness".

"I feel like that's something we should all do, we should encourage kindness and protect our fans and protect ourselves - just be nicer to one another. I feel like we'd all have a much better experience on social media if that was the case”.

I do think that there is far too much negativity on social media. I am very much of the opinion that, if someone does not have anything positive to say, it is best not to say it. Just think about the physical and emotional cost of trolling and what effect that has. An artist like Dua Lipa will get a lot of love and respect, but there are those who will hit out and slag off her music. Some people will get really personal and cruel and, whilst some might say this is all part of music, I would disagree.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @austindistel/Unsplash

If you do not like someone’s music, why go out of the way to say that on social media? It is not constructive for them and, instead, you are making someone feel rotten for no reason. Music is subjective, and I am not a fan of a lot of modern sounds. I am not a fan of Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran, but I never go out of my way to hate on Taylor Swift’s music or attack Ed Sheeran. Maybe the anonymity of social media means people feel safe stretching the definition of free speech; perhaps people feel venting and being mean on social media is a way to feel better or there is so much stress in the wold that they have no choice. Musicians can block people who say something negative, but that does seem like cleaning rocks on a beach that is being deluged by an oil spill: as soon as you have scrubbed one rock clean, it gets drenched in oil. In other words, there is always a fresh wave of haters and idiots who will replace those you block. I am glad artists are taking time away from social media and recognising that the toxic impact is too much. It is hard being in a business where one has to use social media to promote music. Artists deserve to read positive fan comments and they will post songs/teasers to get their music out there; news about tour dates and that sort of thing.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @brookecagle/Unsplash

On the one hand, one cannot ban people from social media for saying something obnoxious, but we do need to promote a more positive message. Some might cringe when Dua Lipa asks for more tolerance and love online because, as we know, that is being heavily outweighed by the anxious and negative. There are articles out there that outline how we can have a more positive experience online, but I do feel it will take a lot of hard work. I think we all need to think about how we are going to be move forward in 2020. I do think it will be a more positive year than this one, and there are things to look forward to. Music, more than anything in the world, should be a positive thing. There are so many great videos, songs and moments to explore, so it always bugs me when an artist is being targeted or feel drained because of abuse they get online. In 2020, instead of feeling it necessary to go after artists or say something hateful, realise that there is potential to be good and make a positive contribution. Dua Lipa, of course, was not just talking about negativity solely aimed at artists. Look at social media in general and most people’s Twitter feeds contains a lot of negativity and downbeat content. We can never erase all the bad and foreboding, but the desire of social media was, back before it was invented, to connect people and to give us opportunities we did not have before – reaching people around the world and providing a healthy and fascinating platform. We can all do more but, at the very least, we need to think about the impact seemingly harmless comments have on people. So many artists are taking time off from social media or quitting altogether because they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious because of what they read. I think social media can head in a much more positive direction next year (and needs to); we can all pledge to use sites like Twitter and Facebook…


 PHOTO CREDIT: @christinhumephoto/Unsplash

FOR the power of good.