Five ways to be a responsible netizen in these turbulent times

Are you a responsible netizen or do you let your biases reflect in the way you share news? How can we engage in a more positive way on social media, even when we don’t agree with each other?

As millennials begin to take over major decision-making positions all over the world, it is equally important to understand the role of the ordinary netizen in dissemination of ideas/ideologies. She has the power to type out her thoughts whenever she wants, and when you mix that with some information overload, it can be a dangerous concoction.

The millennial wants to know it all and also SHOW it all! Yes, show off all the knowledge gained through discourses, here and there, sometimes out of passion, but mostly out of the need to fit in. And god forbid, if someone disagrees with us, we shall assassinate their character with personal attacks.

But we all know what the world needs, to be a better place. Don’t we? It’s love and respect. But how does one practice it online?

Let’s try and figure out some ways.

Be aware

We have to stop consuming our news the way we eat food after being hungry for too long. You know what I mean? It’s always a great idea to begin by checking the source of the news. There are way too many fake/propaganda-driven news websites that are doing the rounds these days. Always confirm a “breaking news” through a reliable website that reports facts, and not biases.

“Old” news is also doing the rounds these days so don’t forget to check the dateline, along with the author’s name.

Know the difference

Opinion articles are different from news articles. Understand the difference, especially in the case of news that can incite people. If you want to or have to share, choose news and not opinions of news channels/websites/journalists. Complex news stories such as the Kashmir issue or reports related to racism-based crimes, deserve more time and understanding on the reader’s part. As millennials, it is our duty to not let our biases come in the way.

Take a step back

I have to confess that at times, I do read the comment section of certain news stories just to get a different perspective. But on most occasions, I find myself getting infuriated at a random sexist/racist/xenophobic comment made by a stranger! Well, this also happens when some “friends” share sensitive news, along with their expert comments.

Now, THIS is exactly the moment for me to take a step back and decide how I can engage more positively with this person. Of course, it’s quite easy to move on when this person is a stranger, but what does one do when it’s a loved one (a friend or relative?) A tricky one isn’t it?

Once you set aside the arrogance of knowing better and decide to understand where the other person is coming from, you will find a way to put your point across in a more positive manner. I know it works because I have engaged in such dialogues online. We don’t agree eventually and yet, there isn’t any bitter taste left in the mouth at the end of it. Have a discussion and not an argument.

Power of dialogue

When it comes to news stories that speak to our heart and involve people we care for, it is important to first engage in dialogue with those who are affected by it the most. For example, when it comes to Kashmir, I would rather talk to my friends from the region and find out what their heart wants, than share news that I don’t even know is factually correct.

Practice restraint

Not all news has to be shared and not all issues need our opinion. The world needs more positivity and we, as millennials, can ensure that by being a little more sensitive when it comes to the online world. Let’s not forget that this world might be virtual, but it engages real people.

So let us unite to show that the ability to create a peaceful world lies within each one of us and even a simple gesture online can help spread the love. Share your thoughts on how you engage more positively on social media.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of aweekinlife.com. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and A Week In Life does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

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The not-so-humble MOSQUITO

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