In this digital age, the power and influence of social media is undeniable. It has revolutionized the way we communicate, share information, and connect with others. Yet, with every passing day, I find myself increasingly disgusted by the behaviour I witness on these platforms. Today, I feel compelled to address a particularly disturbing incident that has unfolded recently, one that threatens our collective humanity.
The tragic OceanGate deep sea exploration vessel incident that claimed the lives of five individuals—what should have been a time for mourning, empathy, and support has instead become a distressing spectacle of insensitivity and callousness on social media. It is time for us to acknowledge this dark underbelly and take immediate action. Let us foster a culture of compassion, empathy, and responsible online behaviour. Together, we can reshape the digital landscape and restore the true purpose of social media as a force for good.
Such an incident should have united us in grief, prompting us to reflect on our shared humanity. Instead, a disheartening trend emerged—a virtual display of indifference and disregard for the lives lost. Rather than offering solace, some individuals opted to revel in the misery of others, using the tragedy as a source of amusement. This abhorrent behaviour is not only disrespectful to the memory of those that are lost, but it also reveals a disconcerting aspect of our society's moral compass.
Social media was originally conceived as a platform to bring people together, to bridge distances, and foster connections. However, it has devolved into an arena where empathy is often overshadowed by anonymity and the detachment of a digital screen. Behind the veil of virtual identities, some individuals seem to forget that we are all human, capable of experiencing pain, grief, and loss. This dehumanization of tragedy allows for a dangerous lack of accountability and empathy. People feel invincible, empowered by the shield of their keyboards, leading to a toxic environment where empathy takes a backseat to callousness.
Human beings are social creatures, heavily influenced by the actions and opinions of those around them. This phenomenon extends to the online world, where our digital interactions shape our perspectives and actions. When negative behaviour becomes normalized and even celebrated, it spreads like wildfire, eroding the foundations of empathy, respect, and kindness that should underpin our online interactions.
It is crucial for us to recognize the impact we have on others through our online behaviour. Each one of us bears a responsibility to model respectful and positive conduct, serving as a force for good in the digital realm. By demonstrating empathy, understanding, and thoughtfulness, we can counteract the negative influence and create a more compassionate and inclusive online environment.
To the social media companies and platform owners, I implore you to take a proactive role in promoting responsible online behaviour. Strengthen community guidelines, enforce stricter monitoring mechanisms, and provide better resources for users to report and address instances of insensitivity and harassment. Let us create an environment where empathy thrives, where people feel safe to express their grief and find support, rather than being subjected to ridicule and mockery.
Rest in peace explorers Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood.