COM 0011 – Blog 2 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media

Since my organization is interested in diversifying its use of social media, I’m currently exploring the types of information or campaign that are successful on social media, but also the not-so-successful ones.


Digital fundraising has greatly benefitted from social media. It gathers people together for a good cause in record time. I found this article very interesting. I would have thought that Twitter would have been the most efficient social media platform but realised there’s plenty of other ways to “go viral ”. I have no chance to set a fundraising for work, but I am fascinated by the Swear Jar campaign on Twitter and the Movember campaign effects around the world and on more than one platform.

Another aspect where social media have proven useful are emergency or major event situations such as Amber Alerts (see my previous post), demonstrations that get out of control (identifying hot spots, redirecting traffic) , traffic accidents (e.g. Ottawa Traffic on Twitter) or the unfortunate shootings, such as the one in Moncton un 2014 or the one on Parliament Hill about a year ago…

To illustrate this last case, I read a lot of articles, but the one I really liked for its visuals is the CBC’s A Day in Social media – Ottawa Shooting ( . I was on maternity leave when the incident happened, but followed the developments on social media and TV and I experienced first-hand how much faster the information was passed on through social media. The article shows very well how fast the tweets  were spread around town. It’s pretty impressive to see how parliamentarians used social as well to reassure the population and their families. The risky aspect of social media in this specific case though was that there was no way to know if there was a second shooter early in the lockdown and it was difficult to contain the social media influx indicating where police officers were looking, thereby also warning the potential second shooter.

There’s a new trend to post videos or descriptions of people who committed criminal acts. If you want, it’s something like citizens taking justice into their own hands, or virtual vigilantism. (see The problem with this use of social media is that it affects the decision of a victim to come out or not and can alert the alleged criminal(s) or create confusion as police is trying to sort tips and determine what’s true and what’s false.

Have you ever thought what would happen if you started to vent about your employer on Facebook? Well, Facebook is social media and it’s the perfect platform for freedom of speech, right?… Think again : social media CAN be used (and has been used) to prove defamation, just like any other means of communications :

We’ve been faced with an explosion of cases of cyberbullying in the last few years, despite fairly aggressive campaigns at all levels. Canada doesn’t seem well-equipped with proper legislation when it comes to certain types of crime, although the cases below certainly helped push legislation.

In B.C., Amanda Todd’s video on Youtube generated unbelievable attention in 2012, and revealed the ugly side of cyberbullying.

The striking case of Rethaeh Parsons, in Nova Scotia, who committed suicide following rape and extensive cyberbullying and sexting, went viral around the world in 2013. It attracted as much attention here with the authorities than with “vigilantes groups”.

Can we stop cyberbullying and any other case of wrong use of social media?


6 thoughts on “COM 0011 – Blog 2 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media

  1. I’m always fascinated by fundraising social media campaigns. Social media is a great way to fundraise and create awareness for a great cause. One great campaign that really stands out to me, that isn’t a fundraiser, is the #NoMakeUpSelfie campaign. This was very empowering for woman and it helped spread the world that beauty is more than skin deep. I also like your points about the bad and the ugly parts of social media – while there are many positives about social media, the negatives are getting up there as well!

    • thanks for your comments 🙂
      I’m fascinated by the amazing power of social media, but I sometimes feel like people are using them without quite measuring the long-term, maybe slightly hidden, negative effects… and unfortunately, human beings tend to remember the bad and the ugly more than the good 🙂

  2. I think it really is important to check in with oneself on social media…ensure that we don’t fall prey to those really ugly downsides of online presence. There are SO many positive opportunities that present when we can share, and, I think more importantly, know that we’re “not alone” when busy lives get in the way. I find it a double edge sword of sorts…we can be SO put out there, online, that it can also make us feel just as lonely. Virtual versus real social interactions. I kind of wish I’d had a bit more of a “preview” of the bads and the uglies when I’d started signing up. Some media are just seemingly used as a potential dating medium. It’s ridiculous. I actually like the seemingly cheesy Facebook threads that aim to “flood Facebook with good images”…because it’s important that we recognize the good…as well as our need to balance online versus in-the-real presence. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. I think you,re bang on… sometimes it’s a matter of educating ourselves better and be mindful of all the fluff that comes with new trends before we fall for it. (And I really like the cheesy Facebook threads too!)

  3. Being new to Canada and from an another country, a really good part of social media for me is the fact that I can remain in constant contact with family and friends even though we are worlds apart. It’s a very powerful tool to keep people connected in a positive way. I also find the kittens are very cute:)
    To answer your question, I don’t think we will ever be able to stop any of this and it will only get faster and more intrusive into people’s lives if they so choose to let it. In the sense that there will always be good people, bad people and even uglier people who choose to use social media and in some cases even hide behind it to be bad and ugly. The good kind people don’t tend to hide but rather post cute kittens!!

    • I hear you on the importance of keeping connected. My best friends (and second family) are all the way on the other side of the world, so Facebook is a savior to keep in touch and share joys and sorrows from a distance!
      I always tend to side with balance in life, and social media are no exception… know what you’re getting into and make sure you can live with the intrusion and the potential bad and ugly.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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