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5 Things We Can Each Do To Make Social Media And The Internet A Kinder And More Tolerant Place, With Joyce Ong

Be mindful of the fact that what we read and see on the internet isn’t always true, so if it matters, double check with another source and make sure the source you are using is credible and reliable. Do not forward or distribute contentious content from people you don’t know or from unknown sources. As a […]

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Be mindful of the fact that what we read and see on the internet isn’t always true, so if it matters, double check with another source and make sure the source you are using is credible and reliable. Do not forward or distribute contentious content from people you don’t know or from unknown sources.


As a part of my interview series about the things we can each do to make social media and the internet a kinder and more tolerant place, I had the pleasure to interview Joyce Ong. Joyce is a Singapore-born business owner living in London. She runs Marketing Tech, which provides online digital transformation courses, and provides design, development of websites and apps, as well as marketing consultancy to SMEs to help them grow. Joyce has a lifetime of marketing/project management experience working for Corporate brands, sits on various eminent London committees as a marketing expert, and is a regular speaker in the City. Her insights are featured in technology and business publications. Topics of interest: digital transformation in SMEs, her transition from a Corporate Expat to Business Owner.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Once I did a talk for startups at a business hub in London and although 25 registered for the talk, only 2 showed up. Then one person had to leave for some reason and I was left with one attendee at the talk! The organiser felt so bad about it he dragged in a member of staff who pretended to be running a startup and asking loads of questions which, thankfully, kept me going till the end. I only realised who he was, after my talk. Moral of this story: do not attempt to organise a free workshop when the Football World Cup is on!!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Working on an online digital transformation course for startups and small businesses.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. Have you ever been publicly shamed or embarrassed on social media? Can you share with our readers what that experience felt like?

I don’t recall having been shamed ; ) I do recall, however, receiving racist, bigoted comments not aimed at me but at the content I had posted on YouTube (which was about immigration and migrants in the UK)

What did you do to shake off that negative feeling?

I turned off the “allow comments” function on YouTube but continued posting content I felt was the right thing to do. That solved the

Have you ever posted a comment on social media that you regretted because you felt it was too harsh or mean?

No, I don’t recall having done that(I’m usually careful about what I post for business)

This may be intuitive, but I feel that it will be instructive to spell it out. Can you help illustrate to our readers what the recipient of a public online critique might be feeling?

I imagine someone on the receiving end of a personal attack would find it difficult not to be affected by it in a negative way.

Do you think a verbal online attacks feels worse or less than a verbal argument in “real life”? How are the two different?

I think a verbal online attack can be worse as this is in the public domain, moreover there is added pressure on the recipient to defend or to attack as his/her reputation is at stake. A verbal, real life argument, on the other hand, is contained and isn’t usually in the public domain

What long term effects can happen to someone who was shamed online?

Long term effects, if not addressed, can lead to mental illness, depression or withdrawal from social situations.

Many people who troll others online, or who leave harsh comments, can likely be kind and sweet people in “real life”. These people would likely never publicly shout at someone in a room filled with 100 people. Yet, on social media, when you embarrass someone, you are doing it in front of thousands of even millions of people, and it is out there forever. Can you give 3 or 4 reasons why social media tends to bring out the worst in people; why people are meaner online than they are in person?

Seemingly nice people who troll may do it because they see social media as a place to vent their frustrations. They may be jealous of someone they see there and therefore want to “bring that person down” so as to make themselves feel a little better.

These people tend to hide behind the façade of social media especially when their rancour is aimed at someone they don’t personally know, therefore they don’t feel the need to be accountable for their actions

If you had the power to influence thousands of people about how to best comment and interact online, what would you suggest to them? What are your “5 things we should each do to help make social media and the internet, a kinder and more tolerant place”? Can you give a story or an example for each?

  • Before we post content, consider how this will benefit our community in a positive way
  • We should be aware of the addictive effect of social media and seek to limit our time spent on it
  • If we do encounter trolls, we should block and report trolls to the social media platform so that others wouldn’t be at the receiving end of it
  • Be mindful of the fact that what we read and see on the internet isn’t always true, so if it matters, double check with another source and make sure the source you are using is credible and reliable. Do not forward or distribute contentious content from people you don’t know or from unknown sources.
  • Above all, be kind and helpful to those who need help online

Freedom of speech prohibits censorship in the public square. Do you think that applies to social media? Do American citizens have a right to say whatever they want within the confines of a social media platform owned by a private enterprise?

I’m not an American citizen but I do think there has to be a line drawn and the social media platform in question should have some accountability. There has to be a considered balance between free speech and the perceived threat to other people’s freedoms. Free speech shouldn’t be allowed to roam “free” and this a huge undertaking for the private enterprise to manage alone

If you had full control over Facebook or Twitter, which specific changes would you make to limit harmful or hurtful attacks?

I would focus on monitoring and restricting content that poses a threat to national security, or is hateful and inciteful and that seeks to harm children. This accountability should be shared between the government and the technology company in question.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough — Einstein

This, to me, is Marketing 101 and applies to all aspects of marketing as well as public speaking. Borrowing a phrase from a marketing guru, “The confused mind does not buy”. How true!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Seth Godin (marketing guru)

Russell Brunson (online marketer extraordinaire)

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Yes ; )

https://www.linkedin.com/in/joycemarketingtech/

https://www.instagram.com/marketingtechldn/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/MarketingTechLDN/

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

You are so welcome ; )

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