Choosing the validity of one form of expression over other —is it fair?

When social media usage to take political stands first became popular, a lot of people, news outlets started quoting these as a way of reporting. I used to think it was lazy reporting and unnecessary to give some of these opinions a plaform, until I joined in and actually witnessed first-hand just how important it is to take note of what goes on in the virtual world.

Earlier this year, Trump campaign in US promised a large crowd of more than a million for his rally but discovered later to their disappointment and shock that the teen TikTok users, another social media platform, bought thousands of tickets to the rally, as a prank and a way to make a statement. Now of course, the campaign’s supporters thought this was misuse of social media, that today’s generation was spoilt and had no idea how they were messing with politics but on the other side, there was tremendous support to this action. How is it different than a protest? This was the teens’ way to protest against what they believed was not right for their country. This protest was online, socially-distanced and completely non-violent. Can we say that about the in-person rallies and protests?

Last year, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a teenager from Kuwait, ran away from her family, from her abusive home, to find safe haven elsewhere. When she arrived in Bangkok with a ticket in hand for Australia, a diplomat seized her passport and the Thai officials decided to deport her back to her home country.

The teenager however locked herself inside her hotel room and pled to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for asylum through social media. The teen used the platform Twitter to constantly plead her case and get supporters for her cause. As her story received traction and brought the plight of Saudi women in spotlight, Canada stepped up and brought her in to the country as a refugee.

If someone would’ve thought that her message on social media didn’t matter, and hadn’t shared it and if it hadn’t received the attention that it did through social media, the girl would’ve been sent back to a country where she wasn’t allowed to continue her education, was oppressed and would’ve possibly faced a death sentence.

For news media too, I know the vital role our own print newspaper plays in the community, and with our presence online, and on social media, we are able to reach beyond just this community, all over the world. We are able to gather support for our print stories by reaching more people online. We are able to listen in on different issues, different opinions and bring those perspectives in one place, through our news stories, to you.

And I know, social media is not at all a bed of roses. No, I wouldn’t go that far. It has its drawbacks, but fears, hysteria, misinformation, gossip, rumours are all part of conversation — be it offline or online and we can’t be biased on which opinions and messages to acknowledge as valid, and which as frivolous or unimportant. I shouldn’t have to participate in a face-to-face conversation or a rally to register my protest, dislike against or joy for something, to be heard.

The fact of the matter is, we can’t uphold social media as the best thing ever since moon landing, in one breath and then outright dismiss the outrage, the anguish expressed through it. It is a platform, just like sitting at a cafe and expressing one’s opinions or protesting in a rally. It is a way to bring in world views, opinions and all opinions need to be acknowledged, even the ones you and I don’t agree with.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of houston
Council dips into surplus for highway project

Costs have risen to place utility lines underground

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read