There is so much bullshit out there about mental health and mental illness, I suspect people are ready for an accessible and helpful resource where they can share experiences, concerns and feelings, learn about new things and explore issues without feeling judged or told what to do. Psychiatry hasn’t had the impact it thinks it has and we really do need to find a better way to heal troubled souls.
Which brings us to the first consequence. That what you write has an effect. If you write something racially offensive then those you have offended will be less likely to participate. The hostile environment to which you have contributed will also become, by definition, a limited and limiting one. What you end up with is a community, where people are excluded because of who they are that then shrinks to a fetid ecosystem including only people who are just like you.
By using social networks we voluntary put on public record ‘who we are’, ‘what we do’ and ‘what we think’, disclosing in this way our identity and the most intimate aspects of our lives—making them available at a click. In this sense, social websites can be understood not as tools for the advance of democracy and human rights—but rather as instruments that allow a cheap, quick, thorough and easier surveillance. This is made even more effective by the voluntary cooperation of its intended targets, who happily (and deliberately) fill in pages with private information and personal data to build their profiles and express their views.
Twitter is a place where fierce opposition to Pakistan’s security agencies is expressed. There is a clear trend that the Pakistani military and spy agency get a strong critique from Pakistanis themselves, something that does not happen in mainstream media where people are generally shy to express such views.
Women Of the Revolution and Social Media
An interview with Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Elkhawaja, the head of Foreign Relations Office at Bahrain Center for Human Rights. From Dec 2011.