Social media: is it a platform for honesty?

 

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On Tuesday, Channel Ten’s The Project Mitch Wallis, who said that he had a breakdown when taking a trip in Kentucky.

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The breakdown spurred Wallis on to start a campaign “Heart on My Sleeve” on both Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to be honest about their experiences and feelings on social media.

 

I think it’s a good, and frankly, brave idea (I’ll explain why in a sec).

When on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, most people only upload photos and write posts that reflect the best aspects of their lives. The happy holiday snaps, the cute kids when they aren’t fighting and (usually) not crying, the happy couple pics, you get the idea.

So, I scrolled through the Heart on My Sleeve Facebook Page recently, and it’s quite brutally honest. If you read the pinned post I embedded above, you’d know what I mean. That’s good.

Here’s the thing, will this campaign take off and change the way people view and use social media? That’s what I’m a bit skeptical about.

I said that this campaign was “brave” because people who are too honest on social media, they often get a backlash, either online or in their personal lives. This is especially true when it comes to conflicts with others. And I get that, to be honest. Unless it’s something to do with the law or something terrible has happened, it’s probably best to work out conflicts among you and the person you have issues with.

So, that’s obvious. But what about talking about things like depression, mental breakdowns, grief? What about photos that don’t look the best? Now, I’ve got to say that my Facebook friends are quite honest in how they’re doing. But for some people, especially younger people, this can be intimidating, especially when a backlash is likely.

Thing is, some – if not most people – only want to hear and read certain things and are, unfortunately, critical of people when they aren’t. So, how do we change this mindset? How do we get rid of the fear of backlash because we may have posted something someone may not like? Also, in terms of mental health, when should someone just seek professional help, rather than airing it online? Is there a potential risk that airing certain things will only exacerbate the problems?

Maybe this campaign can extend to honesty in everyday life, not just on social media. Are you OK? if not, talk to someone, a friend, partner, family member or a professional. We all need someone who we can be honest with. Will it work with three hundred “friends” (I think the average number of friends someone has on Facebook)? Not sure.

I think something could be said about this, for both online and the real world (probably the latter more so). And that’s we need to let people be who they are and express how they feel and let ourselves do the same thing. For some people, social media or a blog may be an ideal platform – at least to an extent. But, for others, it may be better to do things more privately; one on one or in a small group. At least then, you may get more sympathy and/ or understanding. Whatever works, I guess. Anything that prevents someone bottling up too much must be a good thing.

What do you think of the Heart on My Sleeve campaign and honesty on social media? Do you think it’ll ever become a regular thing? Leave your thoughts below. 

YouTube in hot water after alleged censoring and demonetising channels

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Freelance journalist and Herald Sun contributor, Alice Clarke accused YouTube of restricting videos from LGBTQ+ YoutTubers, while not censoring straight users even though their content can be explicit. Ironically, conservative YouTubers, such as Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson has condemned YouTube for demonetising conservative bloggers and drowning independent users out as they can’t compete with organisations such as CNN and The Young Turks.

 

I have a Google account and comment on videos, but I’m not a YouTuber myself. I’m quite happy doing my blog at the moment, so I’m not 100% sure what’s been going on or exactly their policies, etc. I will say this though; if YouTube are restricting videos by LGBTQ+ YouTubers in a way that they don’t censor or restrict straight YouTubers talking about a similar thing, then that’s not OK. Likewise, if they are trying to make it harder, if not impossible for independent YouTubers to make a living from their content, regardless of their socio – political persuasions, then that’s not OK…. unless all users know from the get – go that the platform is a conservative/ liberal – free zone. I mean, they can do that. They are a privately owned company.

 

What annoys me is how social media platforms, and, by the looks of it, YouTube as well. Due to children accessing platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense that some content would be off limits altogether or, as in YouTube’s case, placed in restricted mode.Things like graphic violence, (Slayer’s clip to their song “Pride in Prejudice – trust me that’s gory), sexually explicit content and other content that’s not suitable for those under the age of eighteen should be restricted. Videos that promote or legitimise illegal activity should be banned, period. Unless a social media or video sharing platform is advertised and known  to only accept content from people of a certain religious or political persuasion, the platform should allow (legal/ non – graphic) content from all users, not just some.

And, be consistent! In the past, Facebook have been accused of unfair censorship when they took down pictures of women breastfeeding, while allowing graphic violent and explicit images and videos to be published on the platform. In response to some violent content (I think it may have been  ISIS related), they tried to argue that it was allowed because it stirred up debate. However,  after a public backlash, Facebook eventually took the offending content down. That’s not the only time that their “algorithms” have been scrutinised. I personally have reported memes that I thought promoted anti – LGBTQ+ violence, only to be told that the memes/ comments didn’t breach their standards. (Before anyone accuses me of censorship or being a “snowflake”, these memes I’m talking about actually advocated that men should use physical violence if trans – women use the female bathroom… only they had gross caricatures of them, rather than real ones, but you get my drift).

 

As debate over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 has raged, I’ve become more and more in favour of as little restriction as possible. We should be able to debate ideas and laws shouldn’t be implemented to destroy people’s livelihoods unjustly. I’m starting to think that censorship maybe the thing that stops people from supporting groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other ethnic – minority communities. Unless specified, social media, blogging and video – sharing platforms should be places where there is as little restriction as possible and also everyone should be treated the same and be placed under the same restrictions.

 

It is now easier than ever for people to have their say… or at least theoretically it is. If social media platforms start having consistent policies, it can continue in the future.

Have you had any issues in regard to how a social media platform or YouTube censor or ignore certain content? Let me know your experiences.

‘Clovergender’letter in the LGBTQ+ acronym

Heard of “clovergender”? There is a number of groups on Facebook and a hashtag on Twitter. What is it? According to David Reynolds of “The Advocate”, the term “clovergender” was coined by pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. He has a history of clashing with the LGBTQ+ community for outrageously hiking up the prices of HIV/AIDS medication in the U.S. Before his suspension from Twitter earlier this year, Shkrelli came up with the term clovergender. The term was defined as:

… adult individuals claiming to be “a child trapped in a man’s body who is attracted to other children’.

Fact checking site, Snopes, exposed this hoax earlier this year.

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(Photo of  Snopes webpage).

Shkrelli has been since banned from Twitter after accusations that he harassed a “Teen Vogue” writer. Clovergender has also been discussed on 4Chan and 8Chan.:People involved in the “Clovergender” hoax have been known to harass and bully people on Twitter. Personally, I was warned about it. I have stayed away from any of the groups or Twitter feeds. I think it’s disgusting. The fact that it was done to deliberately demonise the LGBTQ+ and, obviously link them to pedophilia makes it more outrageous.

 

What makes it more outrageous is that this group isn’t the first to try and link the LGBTQ+ community to child sexual abuse. That’s what the North Carolina HB2 toilet bill descended to last year. Earlier this year, two “One Nation” candidates Shan Ju Li and Tracey Bell – Hensellin have both been called out and disciplined for making anti – gay remarks. Ju Lin referred to LGBT people as “patients’ while Bell – Hensellin accused LGBT people as “destroying families”. Plus, there’s all the anti – gay marriage scaremongering last year.

 

You know what, it’s people like Ju Lin and Bell – Hensellin who destroy families. People who continuously and falsely dehumanise the LGBTQ community, falsely equate them to predators, falsely claiming that if gay marriage will be legalised that pedophilia or bestiality – it’s these people that are destroying families. It’s these attitudes and rhetoric that leads to LGBTQ youth homelessness and them turning to prostitution and drugs as a survival mechanism. Regarding LGBTQ homeless youth no exact figures on LGBTQ homelessness are available in Australia. According to the Washington Post, the rate is believed to be 43% – that means that LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to be homeless than non – LGBTQ youth. I wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics are similar here. Many transgender youth find it particularly difficult – especially when trying to find emergency accommodation – with many of the services dedicated to one sex. People who identify as transwomen are rejected by women’s shelters and due to their identity, don’t feel safe in a men’s shelter. That is the real cost of all this anti – LGBTQ hysteria. It’s ridiculous. Everyone just grow up! This endless fear mongering and rhetoric are leaving too many LGBTQ+ youth vulnerable to homelessness and worse. YOU grow up!

 

When ISIS is discussed in the media, especially by conservative commentators and politicians, ideology and its potential danger is always bought up. Well, anti – gay/ anti – trans/ anti – queer ideology is evidently dangerous. It’s about time to realise how dangerous it is. It needs to be called out and condemned. In fact, I’m thinking it could be covered under anti – defamation laws, but I’m not sure about that. Either way, there needs to be a crackdown on it.

 

I don’t begrudge anyone for being against same – sex marriage in and of itself. To be honest I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit on. I can understand why people want it, but I do worry about the perception that same – sex marriage will infringe on other people’s rights to freedom or speech and religion and the backlash against the LGBTQ community. But I am no longer going to stay silent while LGBTQ people are unjustly vilified and slandered in the media and by politicians. I am no longer going to stand by and let the dehumanisation of the LGBTQ community continue and further contribute to the escalating homelessness and suicide rates of LGBTQ youth. I’m not sitting around waiting for someone to carry out a threat like the one that Melbourne’s JOY 94.9FM faced. While nothing happened and no one was hurt, 30 of their staff were evacuated from the premises.

 

So, can I ask you all a favour – politicians, the public and journalists, commentators and the general public – do not tolerate any speech that aims to dehumanise LGBTQ+ people, that aims to falsely paint them as predators. One it’s not true, and two, it destroys lives. Enough is enough.