Hateful online political outbursts have some worried social media is out of control

- It is the beginning of a new era in the White House with a new president known for his controversial tweets.

While the election may be long over, it seems like political posts and rants are only ramping up. Some are becoming so vicious, many wonder whether social media is getting out of control.

"This has shown us is how divided our country is," said Dr. Gerald Shiener. "And what strong feelings they have, who they are, where they come from and what their beliefs are. And we have no patience for people. We have different beliefs than our own."

After a heated election season to say the least, criticism, colorful comments and protests may have been expected. But did you ever think the peaceful transfer of power would rise to this level of unrest?

Social media has been on fire with insulting memes and angry outbursts. About everything from how many people attended the Inauguration and the infamous alternate facts explanation to Saturday's women's march and Madonna's off-color speech.

A Saturday Night Live writer took it so far, her tweet mocking President Donald Trump's young son Barron, led to her suspension.

Birmingham psychiatrist Gerald Shiener says with social media it is too easy to cross the line.

"It is immediate, uncensored," he said. "Once you type it in press that button, it is there for the whole world to see never had that broad contact that’s what makes it so disturbing."

But Shiener says the public may be taking a page out of the president's book, who we've seen doesn't hold back on Twitter.

"He has given us a license to say those kinds of things on impulse," Shiener said. "Remember think before you speak because you may regret what you say when you put it into writing. I think it has lowered the bar for civility."

Even in the workplace, which has been traditionally off limits for personal political beliefs, has been filled with vitriol.

"You have to remember in the workplace you have to be civil," he said. "You have to polite to your co-workers and quiet about what your political beliefs are because that is a focus for argument and workplace can't tolerate that sort of conflict."

Online bullying is at an all-time high. Facebook friends have been unfriended. Twitter followers have been blocked.

Shiener points to two simple rules - we need to think before we speak and if we don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all.

"We all have to be careful about that you have to remain civil," he said. "That's being polite with each other not offending each other and learning to get along."

 

 


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