Has social media given us a more powerful voice?

Since the introduction of social media, resolving disputes through face to face interaction seems to have become a thing of the past. There appears to be a popular trend in taking to various social platforms to vent frustration towards the situations or people we encounter in everyday life.  From that annoying person sitting next to us on the train, to our food taking forever to arrive in a busy restaurant – the world of social is where we turn to whine and complain. Is it therefore possible to presume that social media has given people a sense of empowerment, allowing them to express opinions that they would normally keep to themselves to avoid confrontation?

This also appears to be the case when complaining about brands, as recently seen when a New York City street photographer took to Facebook to shame the popular fashion label DKNY for displaying his pictures without permission. Like most people today, he chose to take his fight public rather than attempt to resolve the issue privately with the brand. This forced DKNY to publically apologise for the mistake via Tumblr and donate $25,000 to a local YMCA in the photographer’s name. Logging onto Facebook and publically shaming this big brand without approaching them privately clearly paid off. Not only was the brand forced to apologise but they were pressured into making a sizeable donation to avoid receiving a bad reputation.

In the days before social media the manner in which people complained was entirely different. Written feedback appears to be a lot more impulsive and less thought out, as the things we are easily able to say online are a lot harder to say offline. Is it therefore a cowardly approach to make comments via social that we would never dare make in a face to face dispute? Or has social media given us a voice to express opinions that we would otherwise be forced to keep to ourselves?

Image courtesy of Juan Iraola, social-media-bandwagon, Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License

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