By Jeet Rai
You are browsing through thousands and thousands of pictures on your newest, fastest, most reliable smart phone. You are obviously on Tumblr, because you had a bad day at school, and Tumblr, ever so efficient in its job, does nothing but cheer people up with its oh-so-hilarious photos.
Sometimes, however, these photos cross the line. Trending right now is the Ebola virus outbreak, a deadly disease transmitted through bodily fluids that causes flu-like symptoms. Despite the severity of the disease, right there on your Tumblr homepage is a photo making fun of Ebola. It depicts a picture of Africa and Asia with arrows pointing at Africa, blaming it for the Ebola outbreak. Likewise, the comments from cruel individuals are just as inappropriate.
Now let me ask you this: How is it in any way acceptable that people are so cautious when speaking about certain diseases such as cancer (because how often do you see people poking fun at cancer patients?), yet Ebola, just as life-threatening, is wide open for cracking jokes?
Social media is a means for transmitting a plethora of ideas; it is an expression of what people are feeling, what they strongly believe in, and what interests or amuses them. Social media exceeds in its intents and purposes: it serves as an ideal method of communicating with friends, family, even strangers. However, more and more prevalently, people continue to abuse social media and instead use it negatively: to insult, to laugh at, solely for their own superficial enjoyment, for people sitting behind their phones and computer devices.
More often than not, individuals use social media websites for passive entertainment, a perfectly respectable in every practical sense. The problem only arises when people use serious controversial, touchy and delicate topics such as diseases for their passive, detached method of entertainment.
People need to understand that topics such as these should not be automatically ridiculed. As shocking and difficult as this may be for people, humans must first stop and consider the consequences of their twisted humor.
“I saw that same picture of the Ebola virus and how people are blaming it on Africa. To be completely honest, I thought it was utterly stupid of people, and it makes me skeptical of this generation’s future,” junior Victoria Gost said.
Gost is not so far off with her assumption. In fact, many studies have shown and make palpably clear the sheer ignorance and cruelty people exhibit on social media. This impacts both their true demeanors in life and their actions around their peers.
Raymund Tay, founder and trainer of Leader’s Wheel LLP (a company dedicated to training individuals and organizations in the area of leadership, communication, innovation and productivity to keep up with the fast-paced changes in the world) said, “Research has found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages.”
This says a lot about the direction towards which the current generation is progressing. Not only are people more ignorant of their words, but they are also hurting others in the process. People often abuse social media and use it negatively, ruining how wonderful, accessible, and convenient it is.
Social networking has become a justification for people’s humor; people are too quick to laugh at something that is clearly somber and serious. As humans we have to uphold morals. If we want to avoid the poor direction of the future that we are practically asking for, we have to channel our humor differently. Ebola is a serious matter and cannot be treated half as carelessly as it currently is.