The past two weeks have been a harrowing time for Aotearoa following the tragic events of the mosque terror attacks in Christchurch.
Whilst social media can be a good way to express your condolences and spread love in a time of crisis, it can also have the opposite effect.
This week on Girls on Top with Brodie Kane, Caitlin Marett and Gracie Taylor, the team discusses a few of the pros and cons about using social media in times of crisis.
As Brodie explains: "I have been finding it really hard to try and get back to some sort of normality. I am really struggling with the guilt."
"What you have seen after the horrific attack of the mosques, is a vast majority of a nation in the most beautiful, fitting, united way and that is amazing. I guess the challenge is, for people who have a (public) platform, you have to a) be very careful and b) take advantage of that to send a message," says Brodie.
Caitlin and Gracie both say they've been lost for words after the attack and refrained from using social media for the following week.
"I have kept really quiet (on social media). I literally don't have the words I don't know what to say. I feel like a lot of people just don't know what to say. Or the words to use, but that is okay too. It is so hard to portray how you feel," says Caitlin.
Brodie adds: "There is a lot of hate on the web and a lot of hate is bred from the internet. We have lost control of the internet. I have quit Twitter because I said 'what good is this doing for me in my life - nothing'. It's so political and people are just nasty to each other and I am not about that."
Christchurch-based Kane thinks there is too much freedom on the internet at the moment for people to share hateful opinions.
"Another thing I am really struggling with the whole argument with freedom of speech. Does it mean you can just be an absolute asshole in the public (online). Back in the day if you wanted to exercise your right of opinion you had to write a letter to the editor or you could march in the streets, now you can hide behind a keyboard."
"I mean it's not illegal to be stupid or an asshole… but it's like the Wild West out there," says Gracie.
Brodie explains that she decided to message a few social media users to remind them of their online presence and privilege and to be careful about what they post and share with their followers.
"On the day of the attack, there was all this information that gets thrown around on social media and stuff and I actually messaged people and said 'hey, if you haven't heard this information from the police, or if this isn't an actual donation channel, you guys have to be very, very careful'."
"Arguably... If you have 10,000 followers or 20,000 followers you are actually a form of media. But for whatever reason, you may have that many followers… you will not have studied media studies, you will have not done media law or studied media ethics. So you have to be so careful of what you put out in the public sphere. I think there has been a bit of a learning curve for people in terms of that," says Brodie.
Listen to the full Girls on Top chat below!
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