The evolution of technology and innovations such as social media have radically changed the way we communicate.
These changes permeate throughout almost every aspect of our lives. From how we obtain entertainment to how we study/work, from how we receive information to how we send them, from how we make purchases to how we “Shout out” to others what are the best deals in town!
Nevertheless, above all the benefits of an increasingly connected world, I have come to realize a worrisome trend of how social media have inappropriately lent strength and credibility to baseless rumors or allow negative emotional opinions to spread around like wild fire.
One observation was how some online trolls apathetically poured their good dose of skepticism on the various profiles posted by Yahoo! on the social entrepreneurs nominees featured on Singapore 9. They resorted to accusing many of our passionate social change-makers, hypocrites or money-minded individuals who uses their “Social causes” to simply profit from the public without a genuine cause at heart. Although, many social entrepreneurs do aim to profit, one ought to understand that the entire idea about social entrepreneurship is really to not just “do good” but to do it sustainably. As such, profits are a must have, and that in many cases, rather than struggle to sacrifice profits for social good, we struggle more on trying to stay economically feasible due to our over altruistic hearts! (In Envisage, we often ended up doing a lot of “free service” whenever called to do so)
In addition, I have also witnessed how some Netizens have shot-down positive news articles about how the government plans to improve philanthropy or our education in Singapore, or the general skepticism surrounding the “National Conversations” shared over Facebook. I sincerely hope that these views are not representative of the "Silent majority". (I have discovered that statistics does show that my hopes are luckily not unfounded)
Nevertheless, I do fear that the potential of how social media influences us nowadays, have made it difficult for us to defend our hearts/minds/souls from the negativity shared by some "Loud minorities" that increasingly spreads their baseless and sometimes illogical views around us.
As we have evolved away from the “Information age”, to the “Age of choices”, we are now empowered with the liberty to learn what we want to learn, hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see, and do almost whatever we want to do, by our own "choices". However, this also puts us in a precarious position of thinking that when we choose what we want to believe in, we are “right!” This thought rationally does not stand, as we all know that not every piece of information provided to us are reflective of the “truth” and at times even entirely “false” and baseless!
Therefore, I do sincerely hope that Singaporeans can be more discerning in reviewing the rumors/opinions shared over our social media, and if required, have the courage to “Step Up” and refute comments which may be illogical, racist, non-compassionate or in general non-reflective of what a truly inclusive society should behave like.
As online TROLLS grow in number, We need more online HEROES to fight them! :D