Honestly, I’ve never gave much though to this question but whilst writing this blog, I came to some realizations. I, like everyone else, is active on social media, mine being Instagram. I have a second account, known as a spam account, where I ditch all the pretty stuff and nice images for something more authentic and real. Compared to my main account, there are significantly less followers, and a majority of my followers are people whom I closer with. the structure of my posts in my spam account varies greatly to those of my main. My pictures consist of candid or ugly pictures most of the time and the captions are often written unfiltered and are lengthy. I write as if I am speaking and I write down the first thing that pops into my mind. I really love that space, I get to express myself without needing to care about anything. That account to me isn’t about likes nor recognition, I just wish to share my life with my closer friends. Especially right now, when I am far away from my friends, no matter the distance they still get to see how I am doing. This, is the first thing that I love about my media.
The next reason has a mixture of both sides to the coin. Best way to put it in my eyes, in my eyes, would be a love hate relationship, with me coming back to it all the time. I have a great love for football and I, like many others around the world, am a die hard supporter of Manchester United, and social media is also a part of the evolution in football. The thing I love about media in this sense is that after every game, especially games with high stakes (derbies, rivalries, finals, etc.) there will be memes and posts about the events in the game and whatever happened, as we like calling it, rival banter. It more often than not gets very toxic and if you can’t take a joke, I suggest you rethink whether you really support that club of yours or it is just to follow everyone else. If you ever follow Manchester United, you would know the laughing stock we have become, I was there supporting them when they were at their lowest, and trust me, that entire duration was so long, I am more immune to losses than a lot of the fans out there, I don’t overreact as much as others, I take the loss and move on. Football, is just like our lives, we win some, we lose some, and regardless of what happens we move on. the banter goes both ways, sometimes I get to have a laugh and talk shit about the opposing team or the team we just obliterated and sometimes, I and many other United fans are at the receiving end, and I am perfectly fine with that.
However, the thing that makes me sad, that makes me want to turn off my phone and come back to this platform is the moment when racism and literal hate speech comes into play. There is a difference between banter and stepping out of boundaries, and a lot of times, all this negativity is present and it gets very sickening. The best example for this would be the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England, specifically the penalty shootout. The main focal point being the last 3 penalty takers for the England team: Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford MBE and Bukayo Saka. They all missed their respective penalties, resulting in England just coming short to silverware. The aftermath of that 3 misses sparked chaos for the three of them. I’d like to think penalty misses like making a simple mistake in class, they happen all the time. But when it comes to a shootout, stakes are high and tension rises, that becomes a different ball game and it is hard to find some thing in real life to put it into perspective, the best would be to imagine yourself in a business deal that if you fail to secure, you lose your job and get fired and probably will go unemployed for a long time and you still have a family to feed. The three young men were bombarded with racist comments and remarks, like monkey emojis and death threats. I sometimes question myself: “Why after all this, I still come back here?” The reason? Simple. When there is bad, there is bound to be good and support came pouring in just as all the negativity looked to take over. And just like all those who stood behind the players and team regardless the result, I’m doing the same so that the world has 1 less negative thing to worry about, and it is also because of this community that’s present that makes me come back every single time.
As much as I hate to say it, it is what it is, things like these are always bound to happen, not just football, but anything else, the same rules apply. However, if there happens to be a group of people who will offer support no matter what, I’m more than ready to chip in and do what I can to stop the hate, and media, as inevitable as it is, is in the mix to help us get there.
~13877526, Li Zhe