Saturday Selects: The online community

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Photo Credit: SustaiNet

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write the first Saturday of each month in which I discuss something completely unrelated to books and writing and all the normal stuff you see here. You can check out my previous posts here.

Something that I am constantly baffled by is how people interact with each other over the internet. I’ve gotten some pretty harsh words in the form of comments on here (a damn book blog). You absolutely positively cannot have your negative tweet retweeted by a celebrity because the wrath of their fans will come down upon your Twitter notifications. Yes, I have personal experience with this. And all I said was that I didn’t like a song and I think the tweet I was mentioned in by the celebrity was favorited something like 1500 times and I was mentioned even more. I couldn’t look at my phone because the notifications were nonstop. You also can’t comment on news articles without someone going crazy and turning a difference of opinions into a personal attack.

It’s really not a good thing to see. And I bet I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that these are just trolls who go around tweeting and commenting ignorantly on whatever they read. Uh no. Twitter is the easiest place to see that these are just regular people who have no idea how to communicate. Let’s say you make the mistake of tweeting a celebrity with maybe 3 million followers. And then they decide to retweet or quote you. The first few responses will likely respond to whatever criticism you tossed toward the celebrity. Okay. Nothing wrong there. But very, very quickly you’ll find that people have just gone through your tweets and are now on the offensive. They’re using what you said about something two weeks ago to their advantage. They’re looking at your pictures. They’re saying things that make absolutely no sense in the context. It’s bad. And it’s not only on Twitter, of course. It can happen on here, on Facebook, on a news site, just about anywhere on the internet that has some kind of comment section.

You know, it doesn’t matter if you disagree with someone or if you think this about abortion or that about the President, but there is never any reason to go into all-out attack mode over nothing. I mean, who cares what I think of that new song on the radio? Who cares if I like this sport over that? Who cares if I’m not a fan of this actor? What does any of that have to do with you tossing out a derogatory remark? Or trying to belittle me in some way.

I won’t go so far as to call it cyberbullying in most cases because it’s often just one or two things and then the other person forgets you exist once again. But the hate language that is tossed around over the internet every minute of every day is a joke. I don’t have a solution for better policing it, but I can’t be the only person who thinks something more needs to be done.

6 thoughts on “Saturday Selects: The online community

  1. Sounds like the movie “Chef,” which shows how unbelievable the response can be.

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  2. I tried to compliment a semi-famous person on Twitter, and that person criticized my compliment. Um, get a life. People seem to behave the same way on the Internet as they do while driving: aggressively!

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  3. It’s absurd, and also very easy while behind a key bored.

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  4. I agree and am baffled by the nastiness and venom in some people’s comments. Nothing wrong with disagreement or good discussion but calm down! If you don’t like what someone says/thinks/writes sometimes it is better to just ignore it. If you decide to express your opinion keep it respectful and comment on the issue not the person.

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  5. I agree. It’s ridiculous how mean people are in the internet, and most people don’t know they’re doing it. We’ve become so desensitized to language and rudeness that it pops out of our mouths or keyboards and we don’t realize we’re doing it. I wouldn’t know how to go about fixing it, either, but it is such a shame.

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  6. It scares me when I think about how socially numb the next few generations will be. Social media is like….a conditioning tool for sociopaths. Will people even be capable of real-life interaction? How will this affect their careers, their marriages, their parenting?

    I’m glad to have had a real childhood instead of a digital one, so I feel sorry for kids these days who probably won’t. They’ll look back on their childhood and instead of remembering the games they played with friends and silly playground adventures, all they’ll remember are memes and online wankfests.

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