Let’s talk about ‘trigger alerts’

Sumaiya Tasnim | Published: 00:00, Jun 24,2018


There is always this ‘itch’, a compulsive urge, to slam people in the threads of the comment section. On social media  Some people are just writing away anything and everything they want to bash others. They talk about a woman’s image and question their existence by their sleeve cut, some encourage animal brutality, some discourage popular Bangladeshi YouTubers by slamming their contents and some try to justify killings of atheists as a pious deed. Sumaiya Tasnim questions whether they fight words with words or just let the trigger settle.

It is the 21st century and let us look around for a minute. Everything around us has ‘smart’ labelled on it. The people though? Not so much. With social media raising its user friendly bars for their users, everyone has the access to communicate and interact within a split of a second. This gives an open opportunity for everyone to express their opinion, concern, consent; however, not every comment is technically for the benefit of a target.

It is obviously a matter of concern given when certain audience bash people and try to rationalise illegal or morally unethical activities. Looking back to when #metoo was a popular global trend for men and women to come out as victims of sexual harassment and rape, Bangladesh took a huge step towards making a social progress. However, not many were fans of the movement and it turned into a social media massacre where certain people believed that women were trying to get ‘fame’ through setting up fake stories and some found it best to share their consent of not talking about it. When such events take place it is important to understand that speaking out against certain people is necessary but not to a point where you realise that you probably will not get to a conclusion with them.

The reason why your rightful conscience might not be the exact option for them is probably because they do not want to be taught what might be the best for a wholesome society. To some people anything and everything is right as long as it fits their ego. Understandably, we also need to look into how religion, education and social upbringing affect each individual. Often times as adults we do not look into the moral ethics on all these three dimensions. This is where we are going wrong. The practice of thinking through might not be very simple but it is not very difficult either. Let’s also not forget how mentally draining these arguments can get. Think about it. You spent around a significant amount of time trying to prove your point to someone online but at the end of the day even if you win the argument you will feel incredibly stressed throughout the entire time. So, is that even worth it?

You have to understand the fact that not all news is true on social media. We people, on the internet, are like ticking time bombs. Everything seems amusing when it is advertised right with a hint of spice but the moment we do not like something we take it personally. It is important to realise the fact that not everything we like is necessarily something that someone else would appreciate.

‘I think it is important to see the society we live in. Here in Bangladesh, the rate of tolerance is pretty poor. Social media feasts on these insecurities and intolerance we have and not a lot of people can endure it and try to understand from someone else’s perspective’, says Kazi Nayeer, an undergrad from BRAC University.

Before reacting to any comment thread or posts on social media, take some time off to realise if acting upon someone else’s action is something you want to do, or if it is your place to do so. If you want to simply prove a point and not hide from what your perspective is then by all means do share your opinions. However, when things start to go south, things will get personal and that is when you should understand that not everything and not everyone should be given the opportunity to shake your conscience. We have to accept the fact that there will always be people who will not accept women’s absolute freedom without giving a religious notion of consent, there will be homophobic people and there will be people who you just cannot win an argument with. And it actually is fine because your strength is in your patience and not in falling into an internet fight. The anonymity of the web mixed with the human need to be right is a terrible combination. I bet most of the people who spend their time arguing with pointless comebacks cannot even come with counter arguments upfront. It is nice to imagine that we are intellectual warriors feeding wisdom to the plebs, but this is just a delusional thought. The reality is that if you were me, you would believe in all the things I believe in, and vice versa. At the end of the day no one is sharing knowledge with anyone because we are constantly trying to prove our point.

So, the question is, do we hide from these people and not fight against what clearly is wrong? Of course not, but you need to understand who to deal with and how to because fighting fire with fire is not a smart move. Do speak truth and argue logically with back up evidence if you may. Try to understand the fact that not everything social media throws at you is true. Social media is an amazing place to build up global connections but like everything else, it has a dark side too. Always try to keep in mind that your thoughts will constantly change and your perspective might not be the same as before. Hence when someone tries to put their beliefs and thoughts into you, do remind them of how. So, the next time you want to fight with someone on the internet, think again!

                                                                                     Sumaiya Tasnim is a student of BRAC University.

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