The Weaponization of Social Media

Feb 8, 02:34 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

During the past few weeks, I've really cut down on my social media time. I'm doing this for the same reason cited by many others: social media has become a very nasty place. To some degree, this has always been the case, but since last fall's election, places like Twitter and Facebook have beecome rife with insults, accusations and general intolerance.

There's a lot of ignorance and miscommunication out there, especially in aromatherapy pages and forums. While these exist ostensibly to educate and network, they can be full of bad advice and misinformation. If you're on Facebook and having a lousy day, the temptation to lash out and attack someone can become great. Don't do it.

Last month, a respected aromatherapy icon publicly and viciously attacked another icon on multiple social media forums. Both parties involved have 30+ years in the business, and many people look up to them. One party felt slighted over a perceived copycat product, and launched into a full frontal assault. The other party did not personally respond, and had an associate put up a defense instead. The reputations of both aromatherapists suffered over an issue which could (and should) have been quietly settled between them via direct personal communication.

I've always wondered why people think they're invisible when they post. It's akin to picking your nose in the car while driving and somehow believing that no one will see you. The perceived anonymity may make you feel good, but it's merely a false sense of security. 

Think about everything you post before you hit the return key. If the strangers in your Twitter feed or Facebook group met you tomorrow at an aromatherapy conference, would they greet you or avoid you? If you think you'll never run into any of these people in person, think again. The world is a very small place, and aromatherapy is a small industry.

The golden rule may sound corny, but it really applies to social media communication.

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