Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Does The Internet Make Us Cowards?

In a previous post, I talked about the "masks" we hide behind that allow some of us to say or do things we wouldn't if our identities were obvious. You might consider this an extension of that post.

This week I've started reading a book about entitlement. As I've said in a recent Facebook post, I started reading the book thinking like a parent and grandparent, but soon realized it also applied to me. And there was one chapter that really hit home.

I confess that I read things on Facebook--not everything, but probably more than I should--and I've found my blood pressure rising when I see some of the political posts. I can remember situations when, if we didn't get our way in an election, we might be steamed for a while--we tried to be what in Great Britain is sometimes called the "loyal opposition" But the posts and comments nowadays are sometimes more than I can take.

As a writer, I'm encouraged to maintain a social media presence. For a long time I accepted essentially all Facebook friend requests, except those that are from people obviously trolling for friends. But now when I see a comment that raises my hackles, I click on the name, and if I see that I've "friended" them I use the tab that "unfollows" (and sometimes "unfriends") them. And that brings me to what this book said. There are things that we'd hesitate to say face-to-face, but we feel free to say them via electronic media. The Internet has made cowards of many of us.

Do you agree? Are some of these people who think nothing of spewing their vitriol going to eventually regret it? Is there anything one can do besides "unfollowing" or "unfriending" them? What do you think?

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Elise Griffith said...

This is an interesting topic. My sons (both in their 20s) have worked jobs that have them dealing with the public, and find that the "lack of filter" common in social media is spilling over into real life. While there may be some cowardliness involved on Facebook and Twitter, etc., I think at the heart of the issue it's more a lack of consequences. There don't seem to be social consequences anymore for spewing ugliness, being rude or throwing a verbal tantrum. It's become accepted behavior, along with taking to the streets in protest or publicly maligning leadership. As long as it's acceptable, it will continue and, like a cancer, grow. Our country... our world... needs Christ now more than ever. Just my humble opinion.

Richard Mabry said...

Elise, you may be right--it's not cowardice, it's the absence of consequences. We feel like we can say anything, and it will never come back to affect us.
Thanks for your comment.

Patricia Bradley said...

So agree with Elise. I started noticing in-your-face 20somethings several years ago--like 20--at doctors offices and other places of business. People who were rude and didn't mind letting you know. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. That's why I don't comment on anything political and rarely read those posts. I try to avoid the rude people in the world.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, couldn't agree more. That's why I've started unfollowing and unfriending people on Facebook. They can espouse their ideas (free speech), but no need to engage in ad hominem attacks. I don't need to read those--and I don't, more than once.