Disappointed by Social Media—Yet Again

A trending topic on Twitter surfaced earlier this evening: #stopthatthatsgay, and I can’t help but write a few words on how disgusting I think this is.

A “trending topic” is Twitter-speak for something that is a recurring hashtag or word in tweets (such as “#Glee” on a Tuesday night, or “Midterms” during October).

Topics like these remind me that the Internet, just like our planet, is full of people who are, well, uneducated. I don’t purport this to be fully the fault of individuals in question, but let’s look at this from a logical point of view. Merriam-Webster defines gay as:

1 a : happily excited : merry <in a gay mood> b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits <a bird’s gay spring song>
2 a : bright, lively <gay sunny meadows> b : brilliant in color
3 : given to social pleasures; also : licentious
4 a : homosexual <gay men> b : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals <the gay rights movement> <a gay bar>

Nowhere in the definition does it define “gay” as “stupid”—how the idiots on the trending topic are using it. However you feel about homosexuals, African-Americans, Chinese, First Nations, Caucasians, or anyone else, it is not appropriate to use the term synonymously with the adjective “stupid.”

Quite a few reports have surfaced in the media recently about homosexual teenage boys who have committed suicide after enduring teasing and scrutiny within their community for their sexual orientation. This is appalling. I’m disappointed, once again, with our society. The nice little bubble of people I follow on Twitter (mostly academics, students, news sources and friends) would never consider #stopthatthatsgay as a cool or funny trending topic—and it makes me forget how stupid people on the Internet can be.

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Posted on October 15, 2010, in Social Media, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sam, how can you blame social media though, as they are just the medium?

    If people are insulting or sending hate mail etc. through Facebook, is that the fault of Facebook? If so, why?

    “Topics like these remind me that the Internet, just like our planet, is full of people who are, well, uneducated. I don’t purport this to be fully the fault of individuals in question,”

    I disagree, I think it is the fault of the people in question. Even if you were influenced to think gay people are “bad”, whatever that means, if you’re not smart enough to question that for yourself then that is your fault. Education shouldn’t come into that, you don’t need an education to be aware of the fact that you should question the validity of your beliefs.

    • Clarification: I am not blaming social media. Perhaps the header is confusing, but the body of the post says otherwise.

      As for “I don’t purport this to be fully the fault of individuals in question,” I should have elaborated. I meant that I understand that some people are brought up in families where households are not encouraged to become educated, or are racist/sexist/homophobic/stupid for reasons out of their control—nature and nurture. But you make a good point. 🙂

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