Help Stop the Digital Bullying

I will admit that I am a novice when it comes to social media. I look at Facebook about once a month and occasionally post a photo of friends in happy places. Navigating the ebbs and flows of the various postings is mind boggling and I don’t spend much time reading comments about personal experiences.
However for millions of online participants, social networking sites are integral to relationships, promoting editorial content, products and branding your business. Therefore the marketing staff for Cascade A&E and Bend Fashion Quarterly magazines do pay attention to several social networks. They’ve uncovered some recent rants by local people that have become hurtful and damaging. It’s beyond my comprehension why individuals from other local publications would post really nasty comments about their believed competition.
It’s possible that they’ve been spurned on by the national political scene making the internet a stomping grounds for negative rhetoric. Social media is a unique public environment that has its own culture and expectations. The people who hide behind these platforms for their anger and frustrations feed off each other. One person’s rant gives another a podium to spread fear and nastiness.
These kind of people and comments should be ignored. They’re wallowing in an unhealthy environment and the conflict will come back to haunt them. Don’t ever be tempted to post your own negative comments, it only makes you look like you’re part of the problem.
It’s not uncommon that an internet troll is trying to get an emotional reaction or response from their post. It is critical that you never take it personal or engage or challenge the person negatively. Remember, this is in public, and you are being judged by not only the poster, but all your followers.
In a recent open letter to what she calls “the Digital Bully,” local social media expert, Elisabeth Thomas of Lis Thomas Content, says, “with this platform and avenue for sharing your thoughts, opinions and personal truths comes a very real responsibility. All too often in the last few years I have been discouraged by the manner in which a handful of social media and digital users portray their thoughts and commentary in a public manner that actually hurts individuals with real lives, families, careers and feelings—for no reason other than to bring the person down.
“So I’ve decided to take the mic back and use this time to bless these anonymous individuals (you all know who you are) with a name: digital bullies. The digital bully no doubt thinks that they are breaking down barriers and providing ‘real journalistic insight’ to their tens of fans and are working to create an ‘environment of truth’ … But in fact, this is not at all what the digital bully is doing.
“Fortunately, this is Central Oregon and as all of you who live here know, it’s a mid-sized city with a small town feel. It’s a place where you truly know your neighbor, your grocer, your coffee barista and you definitely know and can call out a digital bully.
“So this is my open letter to the new people who are coming here from other cities, who are building businesses here, and who are using social media and other digital platforms to connect here—have courage, engage, keep it real, foster positivity and please be honest.
“But if you use social media or any other digital platform to bully other Bendites for no reason but to ‘look cool’ in front of your digital groupies, Beware. Bend will respond.”
I hope you’ll help Lis and me make the social media platform a better and improved environment for positive social interaction.

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