I can’t imagine living in an Internetless era. I’m privileged to have had the Internet even at ridiculous dial-up speeds. Aaah those early days. Blessed are you if you have no clue what dial-up internet is. I love the Internet and the resource it is and can help provide. I’m also a fan of online publishing. And, like I’ve said in different ways and places, tech is, for the most part, amoral. What we do with it is what makes the difference. Dow we build or tear down.
The Internet is a great example. It is the place we (can) say anything at any time through diverse mediums. We have the privilege, which some say call a right, to say whatever we feel. Unfettered and ruthless things are easier to say from the cover of screens and keyboards. And, with raw emotions we let the random names and avatars have it.
This is the era of fanaticism. A time when whatever we’re fanatic about is truth. It is a time when nothing matters other than what we believe or think is right. “Objectivity is only objective if it is in line with my viewpoint.” Everyone says they’re objective but in all honesty, we all have biases.
Because we say things with our names and faces attached we feel need to have the last say. We must never be exposed as wrong. Labouring the point is important until someone says we’re right. Or until they stop commenting back altogether. Whoever tires first of their outrage starts putting the thread of comments to rest.
With emotions recharged we march to the next thread to attack. We affirm those who share our viewpoint. And, because we didn’t get to say it first, we must one up someone by also taking a swipe at people who see or think otherwise. We’re all trolls in a hamster wheel of trolling.
You see, if we’re not right, our guy or team is always right. We amplify the good or things we like about our guy. At the same time we exaggerate the bad opposition. These attitudes and behaviours bring out the worst in humanity. We apply this to our sport teams, political parties, musicians and leaders and more.
“The only just world is ours. No one else besides those who agree with us, is right.”
There’s a false dichotomy we’ve somehow embraced. How did we come to believe that we can only be one thing. Nuances and complexities are often overlooked at the expense of relationships. It seems online discourse is devolving.
Tech makes it easier to amplify who we are.
What is the Internet doing us? What are we doing to ourselves on and through it?