Gazette Viewpoint: We all need to think before we comment

Gillian Parkinson, editor
Gillian Parkinson, editor
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There are many wonderful and positive actions which have come from social media.

The amazing crowd-funding activities for example, one of the best of them being when beautician Katie Cutler helped to raise almost £300,000 for disabled Alan Barnes after he was mugged.

It was truly inspirational and something which could not have happened without the power of Facebook, Twitter and the rest.

Most of us use social media and the internet every day, if not at work, then to keep up with what our friends are doing....without having to actually speak to them.

And it is this anonymity which appears to be leading some of us down a dark road.

Read the heartbreaking story of the mother whose daughter threatened to leap to her death from the top of a multi-storey car park and you can’t help but wonder where all this will end.

This loving mum had to listen while members of the public around her at the scene urged her daughter to jump after she raced to the scene to try to persuade her to come down safely.

She is right when she says she has ‘seen the worst of humanity.’

Social media played its part and here at The Gazette we were not blameless in this. We ran the breaking story on our website and then put a link onto our Facebook page. We later removed the link after realising that the shouts to jump were being amplified online.

The young woman at the heart of this tale of our times is clearly unwell. But instead of showing her sympathy at her most vulnerable moment, some posters chose to treat it as entertainment.

Perhaps we are so used to shock tactics on all our screens - TV, tablets and mobile - that we no longer consider the human price people are paying for our ‘enjoyment’.

Social media is a wonderful way of keeping in touch and up to date. But we are in danger of becoming savage in our pursuit of ‘likes’ and retweets.

Perhaps we all need to think a little more before we rush to comment on everything.

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