There can be little doubt that social media has changed the world in the most profound way.
Just as radio did in the 1920s, and television in the mid 1950s, the effects of its arrival on the global stage are breathtaking.
Never before has mankind – and we’re not talking governments or international organisations, but rather the average man in the street – had news at their fingertips.
Think of it. A person tweets, it gets forwarded … and suddenly hundreds see it, then tens of thousands, then potentially millions.
If it’s interesting enough, it goes viral. From Iceland to Uzbekistan, from Switzerland to Swaziland. All at the press of a button.
The same with Facebook.
It means that the average person has greater powers than ever before.
And so with one click we can help fight drought, send out bushfire alerts, raise funds for a worthy cause, or spread the latest news.
Or troll. Because for all its amazing power, its ability to unite, there’s a very dark side to social media too.
Just ask Kath Massey (pictured), the person behind our front page story today and president of the Hunter Valley Brumby Association. Kath is the woman who tried desperately to halt the aerial culling of wild brumbies at Singleton Army Base.
On hearing of the plan she alerted media and politicians and became the face of the fight against the planned cull.
In the end, she was unsuccessful. Her reward for her efforts? A tirade of social media abuse from people who claim she didn’t do enough.
There were even threatening anonymous early morning phone calls.
We’ll borrow a quote from Kath because, frankly, we couldn’t put it better.
“The animals are easy to deal with; it’s the people who will suck the life out of you … the person who will never donate … the person who will never pick up the phone and talk to you personally to ask of the facts, who will never offer to volunteer their time to help, the person with a keyboard, or worse, a smart phone with them day and night.”
They’re called keyboards warriors, and it’s amazing how vitriolic they can be. Heaven knows what makes them tick.
But a person who simply loves brumbies and led the unsuccessful fight to save them deserves a whole lot better.