Social Media, Unsocial Users

We don't have strong liable law against those whose actions and writings are defamatory. Many people think they can do online whatever they like. They've not realized what the proper net behavior is. Even the educational institutions are not educati

June 2, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 06 No. -23 May 31- 2013 (Jestha 17, 2070)

Just a day before the 6th Republic Day, a newsroom leader of a media house wrote this status update on Facebook: "I got an invitation from president Rambaran Yadav to attend a tea reception at his official residence… I don't want to see his face."

I spoke with my newsroom colleagues about this. Can we be so rude in our Facebook or Twitter post? If the president or the prime minister is not doing the job right, you've every right to criticize them. Without such reasons, being nasty is inappropriate.

As a human being, a journalist can't be different. He needs to practice some self-restraint. We've human biases, but as a journalist, we should know when a comment is too rude. You've all the right to present your views with arguments not with your prejudiced mind.

I'm still a social media fanatic. However, before writing status of my social networking site, I've been thinking twice. Until and unless you've blocked some people they can write in your Facebook wall or mention in your Twitter. The person who's writing on my wall should know some decency. My basic understanding is this: Don't write that language which you can't speak in front of the person. Writing is serious than in personal talks. 

In my case I've seen tremendous unsocial behavior from the people. I can tolerate people even if they cross the limit. I'm in social media site to listen to them. Social sites are not only for me to update my status, but also an opportunity to understand what other people are doing or saying. Many activities are there and that helps me to do my daily chorus.  

However, many people are using abusive language. I saw even the then prime minister Baburam Bhattarai was attacked in his Twitter. He had to request people to be polite and not to spread hatred in social sites. He also requested them to use this medium for the constructive dialogues.

When he'd been requesting them through his twitter message, I retweeted them considering that we've to educate us on netiquette. I believe we can communicate with people without using abusive language. I'm sure people normally use abusive language when they feel they don't have the proper words or message to deliver.

I felt sad when my paper published stories related to the appointment of Lok Man Singh Karki in Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), some fake and real twitter handlers attacked mercilessly. I've not replied to them, but just listened to them. Newspapers sometimes take positions because they feel that is right. It's just like an individual right to support or criticize. Again it should be proper.  

I love to see the constructive criticism. Such criticism helps to correct you. Especially, the news media should listen to the netizen. Now many people realized the wisdom of the crowd. Even in United States of America, newspapers endorse certain presidential candidates. They've to face the pros and cons of that position. The opposition of the position surely doesn't like it. But there's a way to criticize it.

When the messages were flooding against our stories, I'd to wait until they stopped. I just watched, internalized, but didn't say anything. Many of them were asking me to come. I realized if I go back there and argue they'll come and bite me like the wasps. Still there were very generous people who wanted me to be there. Even some of them called me up to remain in Twitter. 

Almost after two weeks I've posted message not to use abusive language in social site. One came and said, if you don't like you shouldn't be here. I didn't say anything to him. But his words were ringing in my head. I wanted to tell him: "In a public place you've to respect others as well. You can't say anyone not to come. All are there like you and you've to behave properly."

If I go to open theater I've to limit myself. My freedom ends where other's starts. I can't ask others not to come, if others don't like my behavior.

However, I've stopped any kind of argument in public space. Yes, if you're arguing with the basis is fine. There should be a level playing field. If one is using abusive language and other is just trying to be more polite wouldn't work.

Usually people in social sites are more driven by the perception created by the media. If you're the active consumer of some heavily biased dominant media you'll definitely end up with the false information and you'll argue on that basis. That will not lead the substantial discussion.

We don't have strong liable law against those whose actions and writings are defamatory. Many people think they can do online whatever they like. They've not realized what the proper net behavior is.  Even the educational institutions are not educating them.

I wouldn't be that much sensitive if I didn't get a chance to learn about netiquette. That's why I always like to discuss this with my newsroom colleagues and other friends.

I've pleasant feelings too. I've seen a rally going from my office street. I've clicked that view by my i-phone and immediately uploaded it. However I've got a message from a lady from Jhapa. She said why I've posted such picture. She had sarcastically mentioned that whether I'm joining certain media house. However I liked her criticism and liked her comment. But later she felt so sorry and sent me direct message with apology. However, I said there was nothing wrong from her side.

Just one day after, again I went to see the Facebook status of that media gentleman who was just unhappy of the president's invitation. It was already deleted. I'm sure he must have received feedback like the lady in Jhapa.

Let's not unsocialize in the name of socializing in social media.

Guna Raj Luitel

Guna Raj Luitel

Luitel is associated with Nepal News Network International(3NI)

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