Calm Down, Internet

The internet is poison. I say this as someone who would wither and die without it – that venomous hive teeming with oversimplification, obliteration of nuance, internet-speak, name calling, and aggression.

Is the internet making us dumber? No. Is the internet making us more unhappy? Possibly. Is it making us more savage? Undoubtedly.

THIS NETSPEAK HAS ME LITERALLY DYING

Internet-speak (netspeak) drives me insane. And not just netspeak, but netlogic. It’s like people are incapable of thinking rationally online. A meme I saw on Facebook stated, “If the church paid taxes everyone would only have to pay 3% taxes.” It might be good to tax churches – I don’t know. But to believe that everyone would only pay 3% in taxes if we would only tax churches? Anyone can stop for a few seconds and realize that just doesn’t make sense. How can a carelessly created meme be so widespread and readily believed?

I’M COMPLEX, THEY ARE SIMPLE

We characterize ourselves as complex. Others, of course, are simple-minded fools. And online, we act like complex issues have elementary simplicity.

“Anyone against allowing Syrian refugees to enter this country is a racist bigot!”

“Anyone for allowing Syrian refugees to enter this country doesn’t mind letting terrorists in!”

CONFIRMATION BIAS

Confirmation bias means seeking out information that affirms what you already believe. Confirmation bias is basically an excellent way to never leave your comfort zone. Online, ads mirroring what we’ve already searched are the ones that target us. Facebook suggests I join groups similar to my current groups. It all adds up to me seeing more and more of the same so that I think increasingly in the same sort of way and hear from the same sort of people.

BURN THEM ALIVE!

You’re with us or against us!

People online espouse the need for compassion, but their tone is hateful. People espouse tolerance but shut out other people’s viewpoints. On the right side of the political spectrum, they do it because of their opponents’ supposed inferiority, and on the left, they do it because of their opponents’ supposed superiority. Both are sickening.

Yelling does not open ears. You can’t MAKE anyone listen. But, if you are kind and open and articulate, then people, finding you pleasant, might CHOOSE to listen to you!

Just think – what if we’re actually all on the same side? We all want to be happy. We all want to love and be loved in return. Why not treat each other with kindness, even if we disagree?

THANK YOU

I have to give a big “thanks” to the WordPress community. You all do an excellent job at keeping discussion thoughtful and civil, and I really appreciate it.

I’m tossing what I hope is a message of positivity into the sarlacc pit that is the internet. Also – I apologize for all the times I have been hateful to another human online, especially when it was over something as trivial as a difference of opinion.

25 thoughts on “Calm Down, Internet

  1. The Internet is the easiest way to speak whatever comes ro mind without one lick of thought or research. Bigotry, bias, racism, all are easier to spew and regurgitate when there is no face to the text. No accountability. Thats why I ignore most chats/rants/opinions on the Web. Except for my friends on WordPress. Heh…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have yet to catch you being hateful, that’s why I like to come around. And I strive to concentrate on positive things to say myself. You’re very spot on about the internet’s comfort zone though. Not just the products, we choose and limit who to friend, who to follow, who to let into our feeds. I’m very quick at zapping those who share intolerance and hatred, complain all the time or just lead a life that is far from loving. Doing this I might be losing out on different perspectives but I’m keeping my sanity, calm and nerves. My amore, on the other hand, has thousands of FB friends because he is ‘studying humanity’. So whenever I need to know about what the world is really like outside my love bubble, I can ask him. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many who believe that shouting from the rooftop is how to get people to agree with you. The political climate in this country stinks. Our two party system is crushing us, and you’re right, the Internet and the media have made us all the tools the left and the right need for the job. I don’t agree with all of Obamacare, but I understand the need for parts of it. I still believe to this day that much of the opposition to the AFA is fueled by racism and hate, and not logic. I can’t imagine what the next 4 years are going to look like under Hilary or Donald Trump. You think there is too much hate now…Thanks for your post, and if elected, will you serve? Please oh please oh please.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thoughtful post … I suppose the internet magnifies human communication but I wonder if it isn’t just a case of business as usual. People have always read newspapers confirming their prejudices or joined clubs containing like-minded souls. It does offer a chance for cultural evolution, I believe, being fluid and porous – you can’t help coming across some of the good stuff sometimes. Yours, for example, or mine … hey, this is the sneakiest advert I’ve ever written, may as well go the whole selfie hog and mention my latest post https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/tourist-brochure/

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is what I was thinking – there have always been hateful people, stupid people, loud-mouthed people… but back in the day you only had to put up with those who lived in your village, and you could always nick out the back when you saw them coming.
      With the advent of the internet, we now have access to millions of hateful, stupid and/or loud-mouthed people. But you can still, to some extent, avoid them. The trick is to avoid them without avoiding everyone who has a different opinion to yours – and in order to do that, you have to accept that the two groups are not identical. Although they almost definitely overlap.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good post. I have similar thoughts as I posted recently: “Are you smart enough for your phone”, which you replied to. The internet is a great tool and has advanced everything from science to social connections. But like other technologies, it’s too often overused and abused. Good or bad, you get access to nearly everyone on the internet!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a wonderful post! Absolutely spot on and I have not read a more accurate written post about Internet, people, social media and its current state of affairs. People need to understand that freedom of expression does not mean insisting on your opinions being the absolute truth. There are so many posts, memes, emails circulating that have never been verified nor checked for facts. Let’s focus on being logical, truthful, compassionate and Spread the love!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. unlike FB and other internet/media outlets, i think wordpress is different in a way that those who do share their posts here tend to take time to think about what they post, as they used to reviewing what they write prior to posting. it’s the simplest reason i can think of why the wordpress members are mostly logical, truthful and compassionate.

    Like

  8. Now preparing to publishing a book, I dreaded learning the Internet because it takes up my reading and writing time. But WordPress is fun, I’ve met good souls here. My friends mostly use FB for photos, I don’t join them because, much to the annoyance of my kids, I won’t get a smart phone so no instant camera. “Mom, we don’t have time for phone calls. We don’t have time for e-mails, text!!” No. To me the smart phone is the worst tyrant of all. I refuse to be on call all day. Thanks for the likes, Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

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