Social Media and its Densensitization of Serious Issues

To say that Kehlani has had a difficult past 72 hours would be an understatement.

Image via Kehlani's Instagra,
Image via Kehlani’s Instagra,

On Monday, March 28, PartyNextDoor, a Canadian rapper and ex-boyfriend of Grammy nominated R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani, 20, posted a photo of the two apparently holding hands in his bed. Neither of their faces were shown. However, the tattoo on one the hands mirrors tattoos of Kehlani. The photo has since been deleted off of PartyNextDoor’s Instagram account.

The caption for the photo read:

After all her shenanigans, still got the r&b singer back in my bed

The Internet completely went wild. Up until this moment the assumption was that Kehlani was still dating Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving. Since this was the assumption, Kehlani was immediately and aggressively judged and sentenced in the court of public opinion. Her sentence? She was slut-shamed and even threatened with physical violence.

Kehlani announced Tuesday with a post on Instagram that she had attempted to commit suicide. In the post, which has since been deleted, Kehlani shared a photo from her hospital bed with the caption that read:

today I wanted to leave this earth. Being completely selfish for once. Never thought I’d get to such a low point. But.. Don’t believe the blogs you read .. No one was cheated on and I’m not a bad person… Everyone is hurt and everyone is in a place of misunderstanding.. But as of today, i had no single wish to see tomorrow.. But God saved me for a reason, and for that… I must be grateful.. Cuz I’m not in heaven right now for a reason.. On that note.. Bye Instagram.

This did not stop The Internet from continuing to harass and slut-shame the singer on social media. In an attempt to clear up something that is absolutely none of our business, Kehlani posted a photo to Instagram with a caption explaining that she did not cheat on Kyrie Irving because the two are currently broken up.

Many people, including some celebrities, took to the internet to show support for Kehlani. The hashtag #StayStrongKehlani emerged and trended on Twitter. However, despite the positive energy flowing from fans and supporters, many others were still critical of Kehlani and even a suicide attempt couldn’t soften their blows.

Singer Chris Brown even used his ‘expertise’ to criticize Kehlani’s suicide attempt.

The truth is that now we live during a time where many of us share almost every aspect about our lives on social media. I have seen photos of pregnancy tests shared on Instagram from people that I have not seen in the last 10 years. I see screenshots of business emails sent from professionals that people post on a weekly basis. This has become social media’s norm. I am shocked that people are still surprised and find it unbelievable that individuals share things as serious as suicide on their social media networks. Even research from Ohio State University indicates that “adolescents commonly use social media to reach out when they are depressed.”

Suicide continues to be a serious problem across the United States and the rest of the world. It was the second leading cause of death for 10 – 34-year-olds in the United States in 2014. The number of people attempting suicide each year is staggering. U.S. emergency departments treat approximately 500,000 people a year for self-inflicted wounds. Globally, more than 800,000 people die from suicide every year.

Has social media desensitized us so much to the issues of suicide, mental illness, and rape that we laugh and condemn people dealing with these issues or for not reaching out for help like we assume we would do in a similar situation? Would Kehlani have had to succeed at her suicide attempt for it to be widely taken serious? Unfortunately, what happened to Kehlani is not out of the ordinary. Mocking those who have attempted suicide, are dealing with depression, or are rape victims is not just limited to celebrities or adults. Audrey Pott, a 15-year-old high school student committed suicide in 2012 after photos of her sexual assault were circulated and ridiculed on social media. In 2014, the photos of an unconscious 16-year-old that were taken after she was allegedly drugged and raped at a party with fellow high school students went viral. The Internet used the hashtag #jadapose to mock the unconscious body of the teen, who has since been asked to be identified as Jada.

Has our everyday activity on social media desensitized us to serious and dangerous issues? Things that are posted on social media do not automatically receive a dismissal of its serious issues just because of the channel in which it’s being discussed. Times have changed, and with it has also come a change in how we choose to communicate and express ourselves. It’s time to accept it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-1800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Lifeline Crisis Chat to talk with someone online. Both are available 24/7.

3 Reasons Why Those Who Lead Should Lead on Social Media

This post originally appeared on Online Careers Tips and was written by Tiffany Young, Public Relations Manager for American Public University System.

From CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to presidents of nonprofit associations to youth soccer team coaches, those who lead have found that a social media presence can be beneficial. Despite the documented successes found by leaders who engage on social media platforms, there are still some leaders who do not participate.

I recently took note of this at a conference I attended for PR and communication professionals. Attendees were encouraged to use social media during the conference to connect with others and to get highlights from sessions. A good majority of them were senior-level executives and many others were sole proprietors of their own agencies, but yet few were using some form of social networking. This shouldn’t have been a surprise; according to a report from Domo and, 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs lacked a social presence – they weren’t on any of the major social networks.

I decided to try to get more of the leaders at the conference to turn to social media. After a quick 30 minute pep-talk about the benefits of engaging on social media, I sat down with a few and showed them how to tweet from their phones, create a list of speakers and sponsors, and even post a photo on their Facebook pages using a hashtag! They all enjoyed the lesson and said they planned to re-engage with their followers to hopefully increase their network.

Here are three tips to share with your leaders on why social media is relevant:

  1. The Ability to Build a Personal Brand – Social Media allows a leader to continually provide content to stakeholders in a way that adds significant value to the brand.  In addition, leaders can identify and engage online colleagues by reading and commenting on their blogs, following them on Twitter, and connecting with them on Facebook.

Read the entire article at Online Career Tips

3 Ways to Get More Out of Social Media in 2014

By now we’ve all heard how important social media is to both our personal and professional lives. However, what hasn’t been widely accepted yet is that there is a method to the madness. I recently wrote a post on Miller Littlejohn Media of three ways you can get more out of social media in 2014.

3 ways to get more out of social media

We often hear how important it is for communication professionals to be on social media. The benefits are endless: networking, personal branding, generating new business, increasing your audience reach and the list goes on and on. While it’s important to be on social media, it’s even more important to be engaged.

Next time you log onto one of your social networks, be sure to keep three things in mind.

Increase the frequency of your posts. You are competing against millions of people to be noticed on social media. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd or to be forgotten. Posting frequently on all of your social networks not only makes you stand out, but people will begin to look for what you have to say.

Set a goal of how many posts you want to post a day or week for each social network. Keep mind how quickly each network’s timeline moves when determining your goal. For example, try to tweet at least 10 or more times per week. Post on Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn at least 3-5 times per week. Also, depending on your specific industry, don’t forget to include Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram a few times as well.

Tip: Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to schedule your posts in advance. TweetDeck only schedules tweets in advance. However, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and WordPress.

Read more of “3 Ways to Get More Out of Social Media in 2014” at Miller Littlejohn Media.

What the Heck Does that Hashtag Mean?!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been on Twitter and came across a hashtag that I have no idea what it means. I click the hashtag in order to pull some context clues from different tweets, but sometimes that still doesn’t give me enough information.

Luckily, there’s #tagdef. lets you look up the definition to any hashtag. It also tells you how popular the hash tag is and if it’s new to the Twitter world. Unfortunately, every hashtag doesn’t yet have a definition on #tagdef. The good thing is you’re allowed to add one if there isn’t already.

Try it out and tell me what you think!


Why Can’t Millennials Get Jobs?

Check out #2. Notice how it links back to the usage of social media. What you’re posting on your social networks REALLY MATTERS. Be mindful, millennials!

-Erica Hilton

PRofessional Solutions, LLC

Millennials — people born between 1981 and 2000 – are creative, good at networking and have strong technological skills.  So why can’t they get a job?

A survey of 501 hiring managers by Adecco, the human resources consulting company, found some troubling answers.

The three most common interview mistakes noted by the managers about Millennials were:

1-      dressing inappropriately for the interview (75 percent saw this);

2-  posting “compromising content” on social media channels like Facebook (70 percent of hiring managers saw this); and

3-  failing to show interest in the job by not asking questions about the position or business and not having researched the prospective position (62 percent saw this).

Millennials can’t afford to appear unprofessional.  According to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 58 percent of all new jobs in the past year have gone to workers older than 55.  

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Unplug Yourself Sometimes!

I love social media. I love the way it instantly links me to what’s going on in the world as soon as it happens. Breaking news? It’s delivered to my phone in seconds. Whether I can be in front a television or not has no effect on my knowledge of current events. One simple check in on Foursquare gets me $10 off my meal at my favorite restaurant. If I need to know the move for the night, Twitter becomes my personalized directory. Facebook housed numerous of my graduate class discussions. I also have an iPhone, meaning anything of social media value is always at my fingertips.

I can go on and for days why I love social media. It fills my addiction to connect with the world around me, BUT it won’t connect me to everything. As much as I love it, I also know how important it is for me to UNPLUG.

Unplugging ourselves teaches us how to interact offline. It teaches us how to better interact with people face to face. I can’t even count the number of times I’m at an event or out with a group of people and individuals are so engulfed in their social media applications on their phone that I’m standing there thinking, “Umm… so why are you here?” or “Why did you want me hear if we’re not going to socialize with each other?” Then there are people who have become so comfortable with communicating online that it’s almost impossible for them to communicate face to face. NEWSFLASH! The world still functions face to face! You need that ability to succeed!

Unplug yourself! Become a part of the world. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. When you’re connected to social media 24/7, you’re unintentionally telling people not so great things about yourself. Things that can really hinder you from some pretty awesome opportunities. You don’t have to unplug all the time. Sometimes just take a break. Appreciate what’s offline.