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 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?
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.