The Online is Real, and it’s Time We Realized That

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?

  • http://gravatar.com/adecembergirl adecembergirl

    Well said! I am an opinionated old broad but that mean-ness that comes from some comments, and new ideas and I guess sometimes I feel…. you may ‘think’ something but you don’t have to say everything that pops into your head. I have a friend who called these those naughty thoughts that you really don’t think but you might pop out with a comment and then realize how cruel or inappropriate it is. It’s like with social media and the whole almost anonymous stuff… some think that they are not responsible for what they say and they have no filter on what pops into their head and what comes out of their mouth (or fingers on a keyboard)… I guess I could deal with the negative stuff if people accepted the responsibilities of their words and actions.

    • http://danceinblue.com Monica

      Yes! I’m okay with harshness, or even missteps in speaking/typing if the person takes responsibility. It’s when they think they can hide behind that veil of anonymity and tear people down that I don’t understand or like. And ‘naughty thoughts’ hahaha, so true. One day maybe we’ll figure out this internet thing and people will figure out to be human again.

    • jacqueline

      I like the speaking up. This shines a light of openness and declaration on a very dark social behaviour. How different will the world look if we our watchful word is respect, compassion, discernment, or unconditional love? Watch for the new world to emerge and let us all play our part. Thank you for opening doors for this discussion.