On the sunny side of social media sits smiley photos, slick networking, speedy communication, empathy and information about important campaigns.
But every ying has its yang, and this social force has a powerful dark side. We’ve seen trolling cause anxiety, depression, even suicides. We’ve seen sexy selfies being used as revenge porn. What about young Aussie girls posting photographic evidence of themselves breaking the law? Under blatant hashtags like #Aussieweed, #aussiestoner and #prettypothead you’ll find real names, real faces, all totally traceable and terrifyingly identifiable.
What was once a glittering information super highway has become a gritty fast-track to self-sabotage. Fall into these hashtags and you step into a smoky underworld where people boast about bongs, post about pot, tap about toking and write about weed. Talented teens and twentysomethings with bright futures ahead of them are burning bridges and watching their opportunities go up in flames all by willingly feeding a machine that can ruin their futures.
Twitter feeds of our rich and famous ‘role-models’ might suggest that we all live in a laid-back land where such substances are legalised – from Snoop Dogg’s golden hashleaf avatar to Rihanna who treated her 54.8M followers to photos of her posing with two huge cannabis joints while in Amsterdam. But we don’t, these are illegal drugs.