Let’s Talk – Social Media Etiquette & The Hijabi YouTuber Conundrum
The world of social media can be unforgiving, it’s a ‘dog eat dog world’, and no one is exempt from the criticism or bullying that often comes with it, regardless of whether the blogger/ YouTuber is Muslim or not. And in most instances, trolling behavior and attacks tend to be gendered.
Rarely do I see Muslim men being subjected to the same level of vitriol and abuse that their female counterparts often experience.
It is also disappointing to see that the barrage of hate that Muslim female YouTubers/ Influencers (who I now describe as ‘easy targets’) experience comes from both men and women. This post will not be about discussing the rights and wrongs of the actions of YouTubers/ Bloggers, but rather the way in which we interact online and how we address people even when we disagree with their actions. Below are my top five tips on social media etiquette.
1) Spread positivity!
It is so important for us to uplift and celebrate each other.
Be your sister’s cheerleaders! Acknowledge their hard work, pray for their success, leave messages of encouragement and appreciation for their work. Celebrate them!
I feel so blessed to have met so many inspiring sisters through my blog, and whenever they cross my mind, I try to pray for them because I genuinely believe their success is my success and I want all of us to win.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” Related by Bukhari & Muslim
It is far too easy to tear people down. You might dislike certain actions from a YouTuber, but I can guarantee that there is something else that they’re doing well that you appreciate. Focus on that.
2) Speak a good word or remain silent
Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.”[ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim ]
Also, before commenting on someone’s video or post, just THINK! Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? If your comment or opinion doesn’t pass this test. Just don’t. Refrain from commenting.
3) Unfollow or Message Privately
I have never understood the mindset of staying subscribed to someone or following someone whose content I find aggravating or not beneficial. You have been blessed with the unfollow/unsubscribe button for a reason, use it! Personally, I do social media cleanses all the time. I’m very careful about the people that I let into my space offline or online, so if I don’t find someone’s content beneficial or I recognise that they have undesirable influences on me, I’m very quick with the unfollow/ unsubscribe button!
4)Social Media footprints lasts for eternity
This is such a grave and important point to consider because a lot of the time I see people leaving comments or writing harmful things about people online with no regards for the Islamic principle in regards to backbiting and slander.
Aside from the fact that we’re perpetuating a negative image of our religion through abusive comments, it’s important for us to think about our social media footprints and the impact that could have on our scale of deeds on the Day of Judgment.
You don’t want to be stacking up bad deeds for eternity simply because you left an unnecessary comment under someone’s video. It’s easy to get carried away, but one thing I always have in mind is that my writing will outlive me because none of us are aware of the day we will leave this earth. So whatever it is that I put out on my blog or other social media accounts, I mentally do a check to make sure I can stand by the content anytime anywhere. So when in doubt follow the first three tips.
5) Pray for them – include them in your dua.
This last tip for me is a check of sincerity. If you care so much about someone’s actions, recognise that your prayer for them is better than the negative comment that you’re about to leave or the bad message you’re about to spread.
Be selfish! When you pray for others, the Angels say ‘and for you the same.’
Why would you not want to take advantage of that? And while it might be easy to judge other people’s weaknesses online, we should acknowledge that we are not beyond those sins and pray that Allah SWT helps us and those around others to navigate our journey on this earth. We have to examine ourselves and our flaws. And we need to start taking responsibility for our own actions. Don’t absolve yourself of agency in the decisions that you make. Individual actions might lead to the cultivation of a culture that you don’t like or approve of, but YouTubers are not forcing you to do anything.
We place people on religious pedestals and then end up complaining when they don’t meet those standards.
Bloggers/ YouTubers are not scholars, they are not teachers of the Deen, they are fallible human beings just like you and me who are on a journey in developing their relationship with Allah SWT but on a more public platform. Always be compassionate and empathetic in your interactions.
Hope you’ve found this post beneficial send through your thoughts!
By Selina Bakkar