Today is one of those days that for a lot of people, especially those in the UK, will, in years to come, be able to remember what they were doing when they heard the news. Today is the day that Baroness Thatcher passed away.
A lot can and has been said about her. As with all people, she did things that many found wrong, and things that many found right. However discussion on at side of things isn’t what I’m looking to focus on. Instead I’m looking at social media again (and I would include blogs like this in the term).
The title I have chosen for this sums up what I have seen on social media in the 6 hours or so it has been since the news was broken that her death had occurred. In that 6 hour spell I have seen public postings that have demonstrated how social media can be used in a positive, constructive way, but also many demonstrations of how social media can be used in a negative and destructive way.
One thing that does make me pause for thought is a quote from a podcast host that I always remember when it comes to the internet. ” ‘Inset name of search engine’ never forgets”. While said in jest, there is an element of truth behind it, not specifically for a search engine, but for the internet in general. Once something is out there on the internet it is very hard to ensure it’s permanent deletion. Even deleted posts can still exist somewhere (as some people have discovered) and we know from news stories the issues that can arise with photographs. Days, maybe months or years, down the line, will people be embarrassed by what they have posted in haste? What would their extended family think about how negatively they use social media? Whereas these arguments used to be raised in relation to certain types of ‘artistic work’, with the age of the internet and expansion of social media, is this another area where people should be encouraged more to think before they act, not just for the benefit of others, but for themselves as well.