The past two weeks, I decided to take some time away from the screen. Anyone who spends too much time in front of a computer (presumably using the internet) should be familiar with what I call “The 3 P’s” of the Internet.” oPinions, Politics, and Porn. If one consumes too much of any of these on the internet, they are sure to go intolerant, insane… and/or blind 😉
Maybe it’s me, but it seems the overall national sentiment is now one of embitterment and resentment. Like we’ve begun resenting and blaming each other for our differences again (I know.. we never really stopped. It just seemed that way right?). Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else feel a big shift from the overall sense of nationalism we shared as a country somewhere between the tragic events of 9/11- to the current, recent, and also tragic events around the world since then- or even between The Boston Marathon Bombing and Ferguson? Can you not feel it? Have you not felt this slow, grinding, National mood swing we’ve embarked on as of late?
It seems we have moved away from a sense of being countrymen towards becoming more separatist based on our differing feelings about politics and current events. It seems the various social media outlets, Spacebook (I’ll explain in a moment) in particular, are alive with an energy I’ve never seen before. At times subtle; at times palpably tinged with hate, and almost assuredly sans etiquette. I’m seeing more and more comments, memes, status updates and videos where people’s words routinely leave me wondering what planet their from (Spacebook.. See what I did there).
I cannot tell you how many “friends” have made public declarations of hatred, supported anti-social themes, or sharing the latest version of their belief system after reading a likely inaccurate news article or a shared post. I’ve had to remind myself that when it comes to being “friends” on social media, it is nothing more than parlance. There is no loyalty amongst virtual friends.
In any manner, It appears whereas we- in the real world- still retain the common sense of what’s acceptable to say out loud in front of others (For the most part… Or at least without fear of retaliation.. Again, for the most part). However, many of us seem to forget social media is the biggest public forum in existence. You throw a rock in that pond, and the ripple will eventually reach the shore.
What we say online is ostensibly said in public. Especially if 37 “friends” read, like or comment on what is said or written. Written words are the physical embodiment of language. Language exists to communicate thought. Written words make thoughts visible, physical and tangible to others. When I feel someone’s words- and they hurt- I want to protect myself. I may want to retaliate. I may even want to hurt back. I don’t anticipate that experience from a friend. That doesn’t feel very social. It also doesn’t seem like a productive philosophy.
I’ve become disgusted by what I’ve been reading online. And the way some of it is written.. Loose conclusions and innuendo spewed with quick thoughts and poor grammar- adding to the incomprehensibility. Today, we seem to feel very free discussing from behind a screen what we would not discuss face to face in open space. It’s very curious to me, but it’s everywhere. How many people do you know who have embarrassed themselves online with their behavior?
How many times do you edit your comments or posts before you send them, especially when your mad? And why do we go to Spacebook when we’re mad? Where did that come from? Some of us have over 1000 “friends” and can’t seem to find someone (in the real world) to talk about it with. Ask them what’s wrong and they reply, “never mind”. You know you know someone like that. It’s out of control. I “unfriended” someone for the first time in the 7 years I’ve been regularly using social media. I was driven to do it by their constant negativity.
So, I took a break from it. I literally ignored my computer and social media for two weeks (except on my birthday) just to purge myself of all the negativity. I’ve done it before. I will do it again. But today I am back, and will sum up my sentiment by simply referring readers’ attention to the title of this post. Please see above. Let’s keep it social.