Virtual Lynching through Social Media: Ever More Common

    Costa Rican Youth Must Be On the Alert

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    I am a true believer in the value of social media. They clearly came to empower us and multiply our voice and, therefore, used in a positive way they are great for relating to other people and growing good causes.

    But these media also have a devastating power of public derision capable of ruining, in a second, our prestige, that of our brand or the image of others. Remember my advice, “in order to post and earn respect, you have to be careful”.

    Please let us be responsible users and, before giving an opinion, let us not neglect prudence, sensitivity, empathy and having solid information that supports what we say. All freedom comes with a responsibility. We can be wrong, of course, but hopefully it is not out of bad faith. In addition, posting or putting a video on social media is exactly the same as shouting it in the street; both will have repercussions on a personal and legal level.

    The 2 sides of the coin

    For those who publish, do not forget the sense of opportunity, justice and tact and remember that “what is said on the Internet stays on the Internet”. And I add, “They will take it out of us whenever they can”.

    How many times have we seen ‘netizens’ (a blending of network and citizens) who, without much consideration, make fun of painful situations, or defame others, without thinking about their consequences? Be careful! Some of them have lost not only their credibility, but also their jobs.

    And, on the other side, are the perpetual judges, those viewers and digital users who, with little information, raise their accusing finger and go beyond giving an opinion. They join virtual lynching and start throwing darts in all directions. It does not matter if the victims apologize or not, if they clarify or not or if they were innocent, whether they were tried and convicted.

    It is common to watch, on social media, a certain kind of lynching for expressing their opinions or photographs of singers, politicians, footballers, celebrities; and although it is not justified, let’s say that due to their “status” they could be “used” to this type of situation. What about people who do not have a public life?

    Whoever is free from sin, cast the first stone…

    I know that we all have ever fallen into the temptation to judge but, perhaps, it is time to become aware of that situation and become more careful. This advice is because none of us is free to fall in disgrace and be hanged by virtual watchers, but also because we are very tired of dealing with this matter. For now, I will end with a phrase from André Malraux, a French novelist and politician: “If we were truly able to understand, we would no longer be able to judge”.

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