Think Before You Tweet

Last week, we saw how social media, namely Twitter, could be used to do good. Sheffield Wednesday fan Sid was struggling, and the number of people – supporters, ex-players, staff, the club, and those in the wider footballing community, that came to his aid was terrific. The focus on Sid and his situation lasted for several days. But I think developing a constancy in terms of supporting one another and being empathetic is essential.

When it comes to social media platforms, the only one I use regularly is Twitter. In recent times, I’ve scaled back how much time I spend scrolling because I do find it impacts my mental health negatively, and I believe that many other people will suggest the same. It’s not good to absorb so much negativity, be it via #SWFC, the news or other sources in the Twittersphere.

After finishing my work last night, I did come across a couple of things on Twitter relating to Sheffield Wednesday that got me thinking. The first was that Victoria (@victoria1867) had received some nasty comments after an ITV interview. They ultimately led to her taking a break from the platform. And the second concerned racial stereotyping.

On Victoria, I’ve conversed with her a few times but not as much as others. I have always found her pleasant and friendly, and she was supportive of me when an individual was unfairly attacking me on Twitter. As far as I can remember, Victoria has always had a significant following on the platform in comparison to others, which means what she says, does and takes part in reaches more people. This, coupled with her involvement with The Wednesday Week, and her media savvy nature, means opportunities will come her way.

Some will say that if you put yourself out there, you will get stick coming your way. Or words to that effect. But that doesn’t for one minute mean that it must happen or that Victoria, or whoever else it happens to, deserves it. And it is down to us as individuals to take responsibility for what we tweet, what we type in replies, and our actions when using what is a fantastic platform when used correctly.

It comes down to this. You do not know how what you say to someone online, be it via a tweet, an indirect tweet, reply or whatever, will impact another person and make them feel. But, by not thinking about it first, you could be doing real damage to somebody’s mental health, confidence and feelings. You may think what you are posting is banter, or playful, harmless even. But if you’re not the recipient, how do you know what effect the words you have put together will have on another person?

We will all have more than likely had a negative effect on someone else when using social media because of our words, intentional or not. Understanding this, considering situations such as a family member or close friend being on the receiving end and how it would make you or I feel, will hopefully enable us to be more respectful and mindful when it comes to what we post.

In life, it’s normal for us not to get along with everyone. We aren’t going to like every person we come across, online or in the real world, and we certainly won’t like or want to hear what everyone has to say. On Twitter, there are functions that allow users to mute or block others. If you don’t like what Victoria or whoever else has to say, you can ensure you don’t see it within seconds. By posting nasty, distasteful, spiteful or hurtful comments, you’re not only making yourself look bad but potentially encouraging others to do the same. And there is simply no need for any of it.

My final point is on something else I noticed. It relates to some comments made about our new manager Darren Moore. Without going into the specifics, it all refers to rhymes and the potential chants that can come across as individuals employing racial stereotypes, whether that was their intention or not.

Again, on this, I think it’s worth considering Darren and his feelings. Quite recently, there has been a similar case, and the target of said chants was offended. What is to say Darren won’t feel the same? What is a laugh and joke to many will not have the same humorous effect where others are concerned. We need to consider others and their feelings. And, where Wednesday are concerned, what sort of message we’re projecting in terms of the fanbase we are.

I’ll end this piece by just recalling Sid once again. The support all of us gave last week to someone in their time of need was fantastic. We can be a beacon for those around us, and in football, for being kind, caring, considerate and empathetic as a collective on social media and beyond, when the situation allows.

S I D – Should I Do (it)? Think for a few seconds before you post a tweet or reply, and how what you’re about to say could impact someone else’s day.