Drama as Culture on Social Media

 | Wed 29 Jul 2015 07:10 ICT

At Citylife we have the privilege of hosting interns both local and foreign. During their time they are given resources to investigate, research, and explore, and outlets to share their findings and opinions. Recently, intern Pornsuda Noka of Chiang Mai University set out to figure out exactly why social media was bothering her so much:

Five years ago a friend convinced me to play Facebook (in Thai, we don’t ‘use’ Facebook; like politics, it is ‘played’).  Once I logged in, I never logged out again! I have to admit that I am addicted. I checked and posted statuses every day. There is so much interaction, information, entertainment and fun, how can you resist such a platform?


Recently, however, I have become sickened by Facebook. Apart from sexually aggressive or explicit posts and people showing off too much, there is just too much drama. It all starts with a post or an observation which soon spirals into nasty arguments and irrational fights.

I even tried to move over from Facebook to Twitter, but in spite of the limited word count, people still managed to make the platform ugly.

So in the past week, a popular male singer cheated on his wife who has two children with him, and he was crucified on social media. I don’t think that anyone thinks it is OK to cheat on their spouse (unless you are the cheater!), but first of all, this is a private matter, and secondly, we don’t know the full story.

Free speech is being touted as an excuse to abuse, and that I find very sad. Thai people believe that we are polite and respectful towards one another. But yet behind the safety of a keyboard, we use incredibly aggressive rhetoric and free speech becomes hate speech.

Our opinions on social media become subjects for other people to judge. To be considerate before posting a status or tweet something is very important, but being considerate is very different from being concerning. I used to enjoy exchanging my opinions with people on Facebook, but after so much drama, I decided that it wasn’t fun anymore.  One’s Facebook status becomes an attacking spot for people who think differently and conversations become wars of nerves.

When drama happens, some people on Twitter even create the tag which started with ‘team’ such as, #teamblue #teamred, depends on what subject they’re fighting, sorry, I mean arguing. This suggested that we discriminate against others’ opinions and it is more depressing because we aren’t even aware of it.

Recently, there is a very popular Twitter account called @SayItAgainTH which mocks and contrasts certain tweets past and present of ‘Thai Twitter celebrities’ whom have many followers. For example, this tweet on the left said that “You should give yourself a chance to know me before deciding to hate me.” But the right it said “I can hate someone even if I don’t know them.”

tweet or whatever

What people say that is off the cuff, however wrong, can come back to haunt them for years to come.

While it is all very addictive and moreish, I have now chosen not to be one of those netizens who are trapped in this madness. I am learning to consume media wisely and carefully and perhaps can find my way back to enjoying social media as a platform for entertainment and connection which it was, I presume, meant to be.