With the rapid expansion of the internet’s presence in our society, the digital audience grows younger and more diverse by the day. From a tweet gone viral to a leaked Instagram post, every outburst or scandal online seems to have a much heavier presence in our personal lives than ever. Take the issue with James Charles, for instance. One five-minute video from beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook, and Charles’s actions are propelled to center of cultural attention. Celebrities are brought into question. Subscribers are lost. Opinions are furiously churned out by keyboards across the world, each one of them more uninformed or contradictory than the last.
In light of the recent chaos, I think less tea needs to be sipped and more lessons need to be learned — and this doesn’t just apply to the multi-million dollar Youtubers at the center of such scandals. This also applies to us.
There is — almost always — a person behind the screen. Regardless of the impact of our online presence, I think anyone willing to share their opinions on social media need to recognize the humans — and not the usernames — he or she may be affecting. The unrestrained freedom that comes with the “send” button is both beautiful and dangerous. I’m not asking you to delete your Twitter, just to think a little before you tweet. I’m not asking you to be hyper-conscious of your every exchange on social media, simply that you recognize social media for what it is — a platform, filled with countless people just like you.