Politicians and the abuse of social media

 |Mar 27, 2018

OPINION

“INSTEAD of spreading love we’re spreading animosity…”

The above is a line from the song “Where Is The Love” by American music group The Blackeyed Peas. The lyrics seem apt when I browse the social media these days.

With so much hatred, anger and negative vibes coming from so many people, politicians included, I cannot help but be affected by all the negativity online.

It is normal for them to use social media as a platform to share their thoughts and opinions but when politicians, many of whom are the country’s lawmakers, use social media to spread lies, hatred, incitement and instill fear, I feel that their credibility immediately begin to look suspect.

With the impending elections, the true colours of these politicians seem to show up even clearer, especially when some are such open books on social media.

Shoe-polishing, insults, cynical and demeaning jokes intended to make the other party look bad, which appear childish at times, are some of what they seem to display on social media, instead of using it to discuss ideas to better the country albeit in analytical and intellectual ways.

But no, some politicians and some of whom I see as “wannabe politicians” (read: aspiring politicians) resort to such dirty tactics to get their points across. It is so disgustingly negative that I have chosen to unfollow some of them lest I become intellectually-challenged like them.

Their methods of “discussion” on social media is often by mocking their opponents, reeking so much of shoe-polishing, seen as a way to make themselves stand out or maybe it is just their way to please their political boss in a bid to be selected as a candidate in the coming election.

And of course, social media is also the number one platform used by many politicians to “show” how hard they work and to prove to the general public and their higher-ups, that they have indeed been doing their jobs.

Words put in the form of hashtags such as #rejamrejimkejam #kuburkanBN and even some profanities at times are used liberally. The thing is, why use so much hatred to spread your message? There is a saying which goes something like this: “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally” and that couldn’t be more true in this case.

And then there’s the blame game and name-calling. Oh my God, you want the rakyat to vote for a government who is only good at mudslinging and backstabbing? It only goes to show how bankrupt of ideas you are and yet you want to take over the country’s administration! How can you govern a whole country when you cannot even reach a consensus amongst yourselves, not to mention dealing with so much internal issues and conflicts?

Again, it reflects on your level of sincerity or rather the lack of it.

And then there are those who have been “sleeping”, who are suddenly awake when the realisation hits them that the big day is coming soon and they can be seen going all out on social media, seen “hard at work” helping the rakyat. Everything is so “fake” these days. Nothing is done quietly anymore as everything has to be shown and shared on social media.

You know what they say, what you read affects you and sometimes makes you the person you are.

When you resort to personal attacks and insults, it reflects the person you are.

I used to do that too, using social media as a platform to express myself, sometimes perhaps too openly until someone close to me reminded me that people do judge us based on how we portray ourselves on social media even though we are not the same in real life.

Sometimes, it is our own demons we are fighting as we choose to see the bad in others and not our own weaknesses. The point is what you can deliver and whether or not your promises have been delivered and just stop using social media to keep making empty ones.

I wish some politicians could just emulate their “rivals” by working hard and reaching out to those in need without abusing social media just to show off.

I wish I could read more “intelligent” things everyday instead of things that are seen as attempts to spread hatred and anger.

Perhaps your own enemy is yourself and not the one of your imagination. Putting others down to make yourself look good is akin to character assassination because you cannot handle the truth and the truth hurts sometimes.