Monday, April 25, 2022

Social Media is Gasoline

It blows up every little spark of conflict. The vast majority of people would never talk to each other in person the way they do on-line. For one thing, in person you can get punched in the nose. Keyboard warriors are bold until they have to actually face consequences for what they say. 

I’ve been off Facebook for some time -well before the last presidential election. It did wonders for my blood pressure and mental health. However, Facebook is a persistent little monster. While setting up my new computer it somehow reactivated my old account. There was a frantic scrabble trying to turn it off again. Then it forced me to figure out how to set it up for permanent deletion. Supposedly there’s a 30 day countdown until it goes away for good. 

Internet communities are both good and bad. It’s good that you can find other people to to celebrate your love for 17th century English poetry. It’s bad because bigots can find other hateful bigots. It’s said that reasonable people can disagree. That’s true, except for on the Internet. Few people have learned the gentle art of disagreeing without becoming disagreeable. 

On the Internet all opinions appear to have the same weight. There’s usually enough people in any subgroup to reaffirm each other’s beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you promoting disgusting things like cannibalism or wearing crocks to the office. There are groups that think those things are okay. 

Of course, this sort of communication is new. We are in a steep learning curve. There will probably be more checks and balances built into the system as time goes on. Who knows, maybe we’ll just have to start teaching Internet politeness to kids in school. 



  1. The internet has created entire regiments of 'chairborn rangers'.