I don’t need to tell you that we live in a time where it seems that everyone’s at each others’ throats, figuratively speaking, of course. It’s become so easy for anyone to to deliver an unwarranted word or two (or several) filled with prejudice, misogyny, and downright hatred toward someone based on their viewpoints and beliefs well as their actual or perceived backgrounds or life experiences, not to mention gender or sexual identity.
Nowhere is that divide prevalent than on Twitter, a social media platform I’ve grown to have a love/hate relationship with in the six years since I established an account. Sure, it’s fun to follow those you have a kinship with and see what those you admire have to say. But Twitter has also been far too fertile a field for the culture of verbal abuse and hate that poisons our hearts, our souls, and our critical discourse. There has been more than a few “trolls” I’ve had to banish to the cornfield, whether it was for directly abusing me, using one of my tweets as a platform to deliver their hate (including one I blocked just this week), or even the perception that they’re delivering nothing but hate… only to have several more surface in their place, ready and willing to deliver a whole new round of hatred.
And most of this, let’s be honest, is Twitter’s own damn fault. Twitter has long been criticized for being lax when it comes to stifling the rampant abuse on its platform. Luckily, Twitter says they are “taking steps” to make their platform a safer one. It used to be the only avenue a victim had to combat the trolls was to just block or mute the account in question or take their own account private. Now, it’s the expansion of the mute option to include hateful words and terms; the “collapsing” of harmful or irrelevant tweets; safer search results; and, probably the most important step, in my opinion, the clamping down of those suspended from Twitter from creating new accounts just to spread their hate all over again.
Is this stand by Twitter long overdue? Hell, yes. Is it just a bunch of lip service and potentially empty promises? It very well could be. Is it too little too late? I don’t know. Will it be a cure-all? I doubt it (even Twitter isn’t guaranteeing it will be). At least it’s good to know Twitter is feeling the heat to finally change course and become a responsible social media platform.
Of course, Twitter is just the easiest avenue for hate to take. There’s still the culture of hate, misogyny, racism, etc. ingrained in many in our world and, sadly, in our country. And now more than ever, that culture of hate has become self evident. It’s brought a lot of worry and concern to many a person, myself included. I hate to think of how all this hate will seek to stranglehold our culture.
Luckily, there are still individuals and organizations who will rise above all this hate. One of those is my place of employment. To protect Male Mode Me, I won’t disclose who my company is or what industry we’re a part of (though we are a big multi-state company). But we’re a pretty proud company when it comes to diversity. And this week, our CEO(!) e-mailed everyone a reminder that our company appreciates and is committed to diversity and inclusion, valuing people from different backgrounds, beliefs, etc. No matter who we are or where we come from, the CEO reminded us, our company culture is one that appreciates each and every employee as not only a vital contributor to success but a unique individual.
I’m glad our CEO felt the need, what with all the controversy in our news of late, to remind us of the importance of diversity, inclusion, and respect. And, oh yeah, he reminded us that diversity, inclusion, and respect is so important that it’s part of the guidelines the company and each employee (the CEO included) must abide by when it comes to professional conduct.
Here’s hoping whichever company you work for, be it large or small, values their employees and others not just as a “valued contributor to company success,” as the cliche may go, but also as a person and a human being regardless of their background. Here’s hoping you share in that belief of respect, because now much more than ever, it’s an important stand to take.