It’s in our backyard

Most of the time, I watch the news and just heave a big sigh. More bad news. This tragic thing happened. That tragic thing happened. Sometimes, though, a story comes on and you know that you have to do something about it.

Such was the case a few weeks ago when the story about Tyler Clementi first aired on the national news. I was eating dinner when the details of the story met my ears for the first time. I let the tragedy wash over me. As I learned more, I learned that Tyler is, tragically enough, just one of many victims of cyber-bullying. In place of grief, a great fire was lit in my heart. “This is something we can fix,” I thought to myself.

Often, tragedies seem far away. A lot of Americans were not just appalled about the tragic proportions of 9/11, but we were also astonished that something like that could happen here. Terrorist attacks don’t happen here. The tragic death of Tyler Clementi hit close to one of my homes – the world of Social Media. It is in my backyard. It’s in yours.

Fixing the Backyard

What do you do when you see that there are a lot of holes in your yard? You fill them. What do you do if your dog keeps digging under the fence? You get a better fence. You fix things. The epidemic (because it is that, now) of suicides of young kids, and I emphasize the word “kid” here, that’s happening in our Social Media world is a great blight upon our backyard. When you look out the windows of your Twitter account or your Facebook page, this stuff is right in your line of vision. We need to fix this.

Talk won’t cut it

At this point, you might think this is just another “RA Ra” kind of post. I’m going to take you by the shirt collar and shake the motivation into you. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about what I’ve been doing so far to address our shared backyard, and it’s about what you can do to help.

Join me at #SMSafety, a new Twitter chat, Wednesday nights at 9 PM EST. There have been two chats so far, and I have learned so much about the gaping holes that we need to fill. But I’ve also gotten the feeling, more and more, that those are holes we can in fact fill up.

Visit the new website I am working on, I have created a “topics calendar,” so if you want to write posts, you can see subjects I need posts on (each subject lasts a week, so there’s plenty of opportunity to cover each one). Feedback on how to improve the site would be awesome. Visit the resource center and let me know what else I can add there. Let me know what kind of content would be helpful for parents/teachers/guardians.

Most of all, help spread the word. More and more people are starting to post links on Twitter with the hashtag #SMSafety. Through this tag, we can create a community that stands for no tolerance of cyber-bullying. More than that, it stands for support for victims and for people who are feeling like no one is on their side.

A power tool with no instructions

As a business person, Social Media is a very important tool for me. More and more people are relying on sites like Twitter and Facebook to grow and/or maintain businesses. However, there is more beyond that solid border. Awful things are going on. Preventable things.

Will you help me fix our backyard, Social Media community?

Author: Margie Clayman