Did anyone read about the young man who has been thrown off his postgraduate degree course at Halam University, Sheffield, UK? He is Felix Ngole, studying Social Welfare, and a devout Christian who put forward the Biblical view on same sex marriage on Facebook. A couple of days later I decided to delete all of my social media accounts which over the past 12 months have provided less and less social engagement of any quality.
- LinkedIn has become nothing more than a Facebook clone for business people to put up quotations, own selfies, trumpet blowing and collect followers. Professional networking zero!
- Instagram and Pinterest are nothing more than galleries for the “like, like, like Brigade”. Photographic discussion zero.
- Tumblr remains a mystery as it unleashed a load of pornographic spam at me.
- Facebook and Twitter take the top prize for self centredness, intolerance and abuse!
During the build up to the UK referendum on EU membership last year, as a psychologist I became interested in the Cognitive Dissonance that seemed to be sweeping the country with traditional tribal lines on voting disappearing, new lines appearing and being more related to age, job, geography. I started to write about it on Facebook quoting examples on both sides and always trying to be balanced since I was writing about the psychology of it all and not expressing personal political views. Slowly but surely intolerance crept into replies and comments that eventually developed into full scale abuse aimed not only at other commenters but at myself for highlighting examples of the dissonance.
And now we have the reality of Orwell’s 1984 “thought police”, as a young student has his expulsion upheld by a judge, not because he expressed an offensive view or broke any laws, but because he wrote and quoted something that COULD be construed as being offensive to some people. You need to think about that last bit, but as a simple example it means that Macdonalds adverts for beef burgers COULD be taken as offensive by my Buddhist/Hindu wife! Her thoughts on the advert are what count, not the intention behind the advert.
So there you have it, abuse, intolerance, self centredness, unsocial, thought-policing all encountered on the Unsocial Media.
If you want a quick view of Ngole’s case go here Felix Ngole High Court Appeal