Cutting off the outside noise

Sonja Karp, Sports Editor

Social media is great. I love to scroll through Facebook to stay up to date with family and friends. For example, I just got to meet my newest great niece the other day and see her beautiful little face because of Facebook.


Who doesn’t love that?


But, like everything else, social media is great … until it isn’t.


Sharing good news, pictures of family, funny videos of animals, cute cat pics and more are the benefits of social media, and there are things to be learned from it as well.

I follow a gal from Tennessee who has a breeding farm and I have learned a great deal about the breeding of horses. She also has goats, mini donkeys, mini Scottish highlander cows and mini horses, so I get an overload of cuteness on the regular, which is really what keeps me coming back.


However, there are drawbacks of social media as well.


Anyone can share their opinions on anything, and they do so without any face-to-face contact — which usually means they will say things about people on that platform that they would never say if they had to look them in the eye.


We call those people trolls.


And, when they do it on social media, the things they say reach hundreds (or more) of people, so if they are spewing negativity, the message is sent far and wide.


People can, and are, hurt by that, but that consequence never seems to sway the “regulars” — those who are constantly harassing others, and we all know who they are — from continuing to abuse anyone and everyone.


I can’t even imagine what it must be like for celebrities and professional athletes. Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift have been the target for a lot of social media attention and abuse since the news of their relationship surfaced recently, and since Swift began attending Chiefs games. 


I think it would be a challenge to try to build a relationship with that much scrutiny at every turn. 


What becomes really frustrating is when you are in a position — such as a celebrity or a professional athlete — where you cannot respond to those trolls who talk smack about you on social media.


Just last Sunday, Kenneth Gainwell, who is a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles, made the mistake of responding to a derogatory comment on social media made by some random guy during halftime of the game.


Apparently Gainwell had lost a fumble in the first half and the person used an expletive and told him to hang onto the football. Gainwell responded with, “Lil boy don’t text me” during the mid game break, and it wasn’t long before that response was spread far and wide. 


And then Gainwell — but not the troll — had to answer for it.


Not only did he have to answer to his coaches, who obviously don’t want their players being distracted by social media in the middle of the game, but also to the public, given there was an article written about the incident. 


Obviously, there is nothing anyone can do about what others decide to spout on social media. Therefore, how do we avoid letting the negativity into our lives?


The only thing we can do is put the phone down and stay off those platforms. Or, at the very least, scroll past the posts made by the trolls and continue stopping only for posts by family and friends, or for funny animal videos and cute pics of cats. 


Social media is here to stay, so we have to be proactive in shutting off the outside noise that inevitably comes with it whether we are a celebrity or just an ordinary Joe.



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