Lately I’ve been frustrated with (some) people on social media. The unabating desire to share the most mundane things, and the unchecked thoughtless way in which people talk to others that they do not know, or even those they do. Sometimes from behind thin veils on anonymity, sometimes not. And I’m realizing, it’s not the online, or the social that has me disheartened and worried for our future… it’s humanity in general.
Unless you know it’s safe. Don’t read the comments.
Comment sections are where the worst in humanity comes out (and sometimes the best, but I feel that is the minority). People feel the need to comment, to assert their rightness, or stature. They piss on good ideas and rip apart genuine individuals. In the real world we can walk away from and generally ignore the crass and abusive people trying to make our lives as miserable as theirs. Online, it’s harder. Words stick in the ephemera.
We’re in an odd in between stage in society where the fact that what is online is in fact real hasn’t really permeated the hive mind yet. The problem of intangibility of the internet, social media and the Cloud makes it harder for people to reconcile that what happens there will or can have real life consequences. Though it does seem that people have no problem reconciling buying sometime online with packages arriving at their door. But the idea that what we say has any effect on another individual seems beyond a lot of people.
Now that I think about it, most of the people yelling loudly and crassly enough to be heard above the din, are probably the ones that would say it to your face too. But some aren’t.
So what’s so wrong with society that we feel the need to be mean, to tear things apart and forgo any attempt to be constructive or nurturing. Because this isn’t an issue with the digital or the internet. The internet didn’t cause the bullying, it only amplified it. Made it something that we can replay outside of our mind. It’s there for us to read, or listen to, or watch.
When do we start teaching people lashing out won’t make your fears go away, that treating someone poorly is never the answer, that even if you disagree that person has a right to their opinion. When do we start treating the disease and not the symptom?
For that matter, not just when, but how?