ONE of the many curious things about social media is that its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.
One of the best things about social media is that it provides a voice and platform for people and causes that would otherwise have been kept silent.
It is a way of building a community and garnering support for an issue that has effectively shrunk the world to the size of a single mobile device.
It can be a great platform for people to share ideas and their visions for a better world, or just keep in touch with family and friends that they don't see often enough.
And social media provides fans the opportunity to engage with (and adore) high-profile personalities, sportspeople and entertainers from the safety of their homes.
Which is all great, except when it isn't. Because one of the worst things about social media is that it provides a voice and platform for people and causes that would otherwise have been kept silent.
No longer are individuals with extreme or dangerous views confined to wallowing in their lonely thoughts inside their darkened bedroom; now they can embark on a worldwide search for like-minded loons.
And social media provides talentless, anonymous trolls the opportunity to engage with (and abuse) high-profile politicians, sportspeople and entertainers from the safety of their homes.
In recent days, indigenous NRL stars Blake Ferguson and Latrell Mitchell have both been foully abused online by the particularly loathsome breed of coward that would never say such things to them in person. To their credit, neither player allowed the abuse to go unchecked.
Mitchell called out the abuse with his own online post, saying their was no place for racism in 2019. And Ferguson reported his case to league officials who have started their own investigation - not that they should need to.
We can only despair that there are people among us who think it acceptable, amusing or even brave to abuse anyone online.
And we can only hope that as the technology develops, the social media giants will pursue better ways to name, shame and prosecute such lowlifes.
It's a flaw in the message, not the medium. When used properly, social media is a powerful tool for community and cohesion.
Too often, though, it is nothing more than a coward's calling card.