March 6th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
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Social Media Followup
Simply Selles by David Selles
 
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
In my column last week, I spent some time writing about the double-edged sword of social media.

I used a couple of examples for both the positive and negative aspects social media has on our lives.

Shortly after I completed that column, twitter exploded after People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, posted a series of tweets degrading Steve Irwin’s life and all the work he did with wildlife conservation in regards to a GoogleDoodle on Irwin’s birthday.

The tweets were as follows; “Steve Irwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats. Steve Irwin’s actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife. A real wildlife expert and someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes. It is harassment too drag exotic animals, including babies taken from their mothers, around from TV talk shows to conferences and force them to perform as Steve Irwin did. Animals deserve to live as they want to, not as humans demand The GoogleDoodle should represent that.”
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Now, putting aside personal feelings on the fact that I believe Steve Irwin did nothing wrong, let’s focus on the fact they chose this time and way to express their rather fierce opinion.

There’s a pretty good chance that whoever made those tweets knew the kind of reaction they were going to get when there are over one million people following their twitter account.

This may very well have been planned to get more people talking about PETA and what they stand for but let’s focus on a different aspect of how they chose to go about pushing their agenda.

There’s part of me that almost wants to give props to PETA for having the balls to post tweets like this on what would have been his 57th birthday but I can’t do it.

Degrading a deceased man who simply educated people about wildlife and had a sole purpose of engaging people in how cool wildlife can be is crossing a line that no person or organization should.
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What PETA posted makes Steve Irwin seem like the Adolph Hitler to wildlife, which simply isn’t true.

While I can’t deny that we are blessed with the opportunity of freedom of speech, what PETA did creeps towards the line of defamation.

The world we live in needs to be so careful with how we share our beliefs and values.

There are many ways to properly and respectfully share those beliefs but posting nothing but harmful messages about a person who simply raised awareness about wildlife won’t do anything but rile people up and cause more harm than good.
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March 6th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
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