1. As an active social media user, what do you think about the level of maturity among Malaysians and their usage of the social media?
I think we are still far from achieving maturity that we want, which is everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and we can talk about anything without feeling offended or taking it personal. Social media is still considered fairly a new thing for Malaysians, especially in the sense of using it to get their ideas, opinions however relevant or irrelevant out there.
It is a no different picture if we look at general Malaysians, those who don’t use social media. General Malaysians, when it comes to “sensitive” topics tend to behave immaturely, and we have plenty of examples of that. Social media is just a new communication tool, an extension of old media.
Another point is, it seems to many that Malaysians are immature on social media because of the raw, unfiltered, personal contents. We don’t “see” immature Malaysians on traditional media like TV, radio or paper because those contents have been filtered, edited and packaged to be suitable for general population. But, go to any coffee shop, listen to the conversations at mamak places, you’ll get similar picture that there are as many immature Malaysians on social media as outside of social media. It’s just that the focus is more on social media.
2. Do u think Malaysians get easily riled up over things on social media and react irrationally?
I think it has to do with the advantage (or disadvantage) of social media. Contents on social media change fluidly at a fast speed – real time. Immediately if you post anything controversial somebody will pick it up and share it or give his or her 2 cents. People react fast to anything and the ease of sharing the content to the world makes it appears that people are “easily riled up.”
And of course, you can be an anonymous, behind your pc or smartphone saying things without thinking of the consequences. Things happening too fast people may have no time or consider taking a pause to rethink what they going to share on social media. Anyone and everyone on social media can now have his or her say over anything and everything they read/watch on social and it amplifies the actual reactions that they have.
3. What are the personal cases that you have come across or know about involving Malaysians and posting irrational things? (Getting fired for bashing employers online, threats, etc)
Personal cases, no. I have ranted about my work but I did it carefully. There are many ways to send messages, say your opinions without being too imposing and controversial.
But people may interpret it wrongly and make it personal so nothing you can do when that happens. Can’t please everyone. Can’t do shit if you start to worry about everything. *shrugs
Well, we have seen police reports being made, charges been applied to social media users over things they have shared. In the context of Malaysia, personally I think it is overblown and has became too political. A lot of things slowly become too sensitive to talk about. Is it irrational to talk about wastages or abuse of public money by say….. the royal families or certain influential politicians?
4. Why do you think Malaysians are so bold when it comes to posting their opinions online?
It is a freedom they long crave for. We don’t get that in traditional media – public tv, radio, newspapers. To me they are not bold. They are just saying what they want to say, but couldn’t do it before because no tool or channel for them to do so. Or it was too expensive and many red tapes for them to do that.
And on social media, they’re not being censored, filtered or edited by overzealous editors. Now, they have a medium to do so. So you get it as it is, real time.
Of course, I think it is also true that in the old days many outspoken Malaysians didn’t have the venue to express themselves, if they did they may end up in jail. Now they can, and we suddenly see “more” bold Malaysians online.
5. Any other comments?
Open up and encourage more discussions on social media. It is easy, cheap, fast and it has wide reach. Leaders of the communities and the country should take the lead in showing how it can be done. Lead by example. As more discussions going on, irrational things become more understood and Malaysians learn to know each other better.
This interview was supposedly for an article in a local newspaper in relation to some increasingly mean and meaningless things said on social media somewhere but I didn’t see it published yet. So I think it is okay for me to share it with my blog readers hehehehe..