I'm sure you'll all agree that being able to say stuff online is a dangerous game. If you say something to someone in person, it won't necessarily be remembered. However, if you say something online, even if people can't remember you saying it, they will always be able to go back to your social media accounts, scroll back five years, and bam! they can see exactly what you said on 21/10/15 at 20:03. If anything, it's a little scary, knowing anyone can access this information. It's always scary knowing that this will always be used against you in every single scenario possible. But the question is: should we judge others for the content they put online?
For starters, I'm sure we've all been there where we've written a tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram/Snapchat story out of anger and some time later regretted it. I know I have. For example, I once wrote a tweet (that has since been deleted) pretty much slagging off a lot of my family and using words that if I said out loud now, would slap myself for saying them. This was around two years ago and for sure I have changed a lot since then. Sure, anyone that may remember me saying those words possibly sees me and thinks back to that and judges me, particularly if they haven't really spoken to me since 2018. But 2020 me would NEVER say words like I used then. Did I regret it at the time? Yes. Do I regret it now? Absolutely. Will I continue to regret it? Of course. But just because I may have said those things two years ago, doesn't mean I should be judged for it now. I'm a completely different person to the person I was then. The person I was then had recently come out of a relationship, had recently moved house, was still trying to deal with her parent's recent divorce, and was surrounded by toxic friends who caused her to be like that. The person I am now is happily single, finally feels settled, and has got rid of those toxic friends and everything I say comes from me and my brain and not from being brainwashed by others. Can you judge me for what I said then? Maybe. But that was then and not now and I am not that person.
But then, there's another side to this. The side where people's words hurt groups of people, or even just one person, that are so derogatory that it makes you sit and think about why they are saying those words and what makes them think saying those words are okay. In particular, two people I am thinking about are Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump. I'm not going to go into too much detail about what they say online, because quite frankly I don't want to and don't really want their words, or even a brief description of the type of things they say online, to feature on my blog. But anyone with a twitter account will know the type of things they say (although now, thankfully, Katie Hopkins has been permanently removed from Twitter - thanks Twitter) and talk about that for some completely bizarre reason, they seem to think is okay. I think in this case we definitely should be judging these people, and anyone else like this, for the content they put online as it is hateful language and discriminates against so many people and whenever I see people talking about anything relating to anything these people have said, all I see is people disagreeing with what was said. And yet, despite this outrage, these people still think it's okay to carry on saying these things and, in some weird way, get a kick out of it. It's almost as if they enjoy tearing others down for no apparent reason. So we judge them for this because we hope to try and make them realise that what they are saying is not okay, although these pleas are often met to no avail.
But then, on the flip side of this, there are those people who may have said similar things (but not as brutal or disgusting) way in the past when they were a lot younger that others dig up. In this case, it is often when a celebrity goes on a show, such as 'I'm a Celebrity' or 'Strictly Come Dancing', that others will go through their entire Twitter, or other social media accounts, to try and find an old tweet that is seen as offensive to try and get them kicked off the show. The first thing I think whenever I see this is who has the time to scroll through other's social media accounts, and we're talking about going back 10+ years, just to try and dig up some dirt on them so they can get kicked off the show. If you don't like that person so much, just don't watch the show. Or, just don't pay too much attention to them. However, on the other side of this, we have to look at how offensive what they said is and, despite them having said that years and years ago when the world was in a completely different place and mindset, whether this warrants us having a completely negative outlook towards this person. On the one hand, what they said may have hurt a lot of people. However, on the other hand, in many cases, what they said was said a long time ago is nowhere near as bad as what those people I mentioned above say on a regular basis. But does this excuse the fact that what they said was wrong? Definitely not. But should we judge them and their online content for what they said many years ago? Maybe. I want you to let me know what you think about this one in particular in the comments below.
So what do you think? Do you think we should be judging people based on their online content? Or do you think we should give them the benefit of the doubt? Let me know in the comments below.
Love Beth xx