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The Lake News Online
  • Our view: When abusing social media crosses the line

  • If used appropriately, social media like Facebook can foster a heightened sense of community, uplift the downtrodden and reaffirm the strong.
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  • If used appropriately, social media like Facebook can foster a heightened sense of community, uplift the downtrodden and reaffirm the strong.
    Social media give people a voice that might otherwise go unheard.
    But sometimes those voices need to be tempered with caution, respect and, sometimes, silence.
    The tragic and as yet unexplained circumstances surrounding the death of Robert Burns, 40, and 2-year-old Sadie Burns brought to light the unsavory side of social media.
    When the Camden County Sheriff’s Department announced an investigation into the mysterious deaths, we heard and saw people become detectives and judges. Otherwise kind and lovely people became gossip-mongers, drawing their own conclusion on the tragedy with little information.
    We speculate that in the days prior to Internet communication, these same people spreading rumors and gossip would not have the gumption to say so aloud to their friends, let alone to the family involved.
    The swirling of rumors on social media becomes an obstacle for the family as they try to grieve and put together the confusing pieces of the situation.
    People don’t seem to remember that the golden rule applies to actions taken on social media. Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you. Distorting the facts, what few were available, and spreading unfounded rumors is probably not how most of us would choose to be treated.
    And that's precisely what happened this past week for the families of the victims.
    What is shared on social media can often cross the line of what is considered appropriate.
    Used responsibly and with good taste, social media are a great way to stay in touch with friends and share special life moments.
    Used with poor judgement, it can become a weapon capable of firing bullets of blame, guilt, suspicion, name-calling and worse.
    In tragic situations, it’s not appropriate to vet your conspiracies and judgements when pain is still fresh. It’s better to keep your nose out of the business and fingers off of the keyboard.

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