United Airlines and Social Media Backlash

United Airlines and Social Media Backlash

My brother is not a "loser kid" - he is and will be a better human being than any of you are.​
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Following the events of the United flight early last week, wherein a man had to be forcibly removed from a plane due to not following procedure, United Airlines has been receiving a lot of negative backlash from media. (Read the story here.) Since the incident, people have been taking to social media to voice their complaints. This is not a new phenomenon, as social media was created as an outlet to connect with friends, family, communities, as well as various corporations.

The older I have gotten, the less I agree with complaining about your life or problems on social media. While occasionally it has done some moderate good, such as getting in touch easier and quicker with stores and sometimes even state politicians, I do not think it should be a default. If you want to complain, call your mom.

This incident with United Airlines became very personal for me, very quickly.

This is my little brother Patrick, who was at the Newark Airport back in March with my step-mother, off to visit family in Florida. My brother, who is a major dog-lover, was ecstatic when a United service dog came up to greet him and a service member snapped a picture. It appeared on United's official Facebook page soon after.

This past week, following the situation on a United flight, the comments on this original Facebook post turned very nasty. Featured comments along the lines of:

"This photo was taken about 40 minutes before the boy was given a skull fracture by a flight attendant moments after asking for apple juice... everyone knows only terrorists drink apple juice, that's how you know."

"The dog in this photo was most likely used to forcebly remove a paying passenger from the plane shortly after this photo was taken." (Yes, forcibly was spelled that way.)

I also witnessed my brother being called a "loser kid" and many people commenting on the fact that he is white.

Few and far between, were about two comments about how this is someone's child, and that it's not fair to be taking out your misplaced anger on social media on a post about a child and a dog. And to that I say: Yes. This is a person's child. This is my little brother, who is sweet, kind, intelligent, and wonderful. This is my little brother, a real person, whom people think it's okay to attack simply because they have read the wrong news outlet or heard the wrong information secondhand, and not correctly understood what happened on the United flight. I encourage you to understand that while you cower behind your computers and phones, this is a child with a heart and emotions, and I am so glad he does not have the displeasure of seeing any of these comments. He is in no way affiliated with United Airlines, and by the way, was not dragged off the plane by anyone, much less this dog. If you are one of the people who have commented on this picture and have a problem with the way the airline handles things, you can be a contributing member of society and write a letter and have your voice heard by someone who will actually listen. Your opinions on social media mean nothing - I hate to break it to you. This is a little shout out to those of you who feel as though you are important enough to anyone in this company or any other company that they will be hurt over anything you say on social media. My brother is not a "loser kid" - he is and will be a better human being than any of you are.

We as Americans have the amazing, often taken for granted right of freedom of speech and the freedom to use social media to voice our opinions, we have abused it. This is not how you bring about any kind of change. Social media backlash is not the correct way to handle perceived injustice, nor your societal issues. There is a certain etiquette and awareness that is important to use when interacting with other people - the same should be implicated for social media use.

In conclusion: if you feel real injustice is taking place, here are my proposed steps to remedy it.

1. Do Your Research

As with anything, you cannot form an accurate argument until you have all of the information. I encourage you to look deeper into the problem or situation you have seen or have been faced with. in United's situation, they actually broke no laws or protocol.

2. Contact the Right People - the Right Way.

Whiny Facebook posts are virtually nothing in comparison to an actual phone call. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram comments do no good, unless you're some sort of celebrity. As aforementioned, the best way to have your voice heard, if it really means that much to you, is to write a letter or pick up the phone and call. Yes, this takes far more time than a ten sentence Facebook post does, but your voice will be heard by someone who might actually care, if you have a valid point to make.

3. Better yet...

Call or visit your local politicians office. They are there to help you. Discuss with them the possibility or plausibility of passing laws or bills to keep things from happening twice.

There you have it. A full three step solution.

Please be a decent human being on social media. Real people are reading your comments, and real people are behind the screen. Real people are part of the picture.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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