As a charity Phoenix have been actively using social media for around eight years.
It offers us an opportunity to share knowledge and experience about drugs and alcohol away from the sometimes suspect agenda, or poorly informed opinions, found within more traditional forms of media. Over this time, we’ve developed a highly engaged group of followers and friends and a compassionate community of support.
However, none of us need spend long on social media before we encounter what Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the web described on its 30th anniversary, as the ‘unintended negative consequences’ of benevolent design (of the web), such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse.”
Often the online discourse on drugs and alcohol is prompted by news stories that set the tone for outrage and conflict. Just as angry and provocative headlines stir the emotions of the public on the street in order to sell papers, there can be a similarly attention-seeking approach online. It is hard to shake the underlying feeling that this polarised online discourse of anger and outrage is driven by stigma. In response to this, late last year we started to think about how we could shed light on the stigma that is at the root of how drugs and alcohol are presented in British social media. Having a clearer idea of this would ultimately help the sector combat it effectively.
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This content was created by Phoenix Futures, and first appeared on 3 September on: