I don’t know about you but I am coming up on twenty years of being on social media. And during that time, I’m sad to report, that I have seen a real deterioration in the civility of human beings towards each other.
It feels like a certain segment of our society has gotten angry about just about everything. If you read through the comments on any post that has to do with politics, even in an indirect way, you will see it pretty clearly. This great divide was always there, but over the past five or six years, it has become quite toxic.
There have always been liberal and conservative schools of thought in free societies, and the whole idea was to disagree and make your point as respectfully as you could. Because nobody really wanted to be seen as a bully or a fanatic.
But that’s all changed. And not for the better. Mainly because it has morphed from healthy debate to unhealthy antagonism and in many cases outright hatespeak.
Now you might think I’m talking about America here, but it’s by no means contained to that country. It’s pretty much everywhere you look. And the fact that people can hurl these nasty slings and arrows from a relatively safe distance has, I believe, been responsible for the exponential increase in this type of online behaviour.
If I was writing this a couple of years ago, that would have pretty much-summed things up., But this situation has morphed again, into real threats of physical harm from people who are fanatically in disagreement with others.
So the loss of civility really becomes just the tip of a much deeper iceberg of ideological fortresses firing at each other. Not so much to convince the other side of whatever position they have, but to harm them with insults and threats and intimidation.
Now, for sure, this is only happening in a relatively small subset of each country’s population. But it’s way more than the fringe thing than it used to be.
The trouble, I believe is with social media itself. There is so much blather and propaganda disguised as information that people are, unwittingly, for the most part, forming their opinions from sources they aren’t questioning.
One of the big bones of contention these days surrounds the whole Covid 19 issue. There is a pretty substantial anti-vax movement out there that is getting their information from somewhere. But there is so much misinformation out there that it’s really hard to find out what’s real and what’s not anymore.
In order to make an informed decision you really need to look at the available government statistics, and not just take someone’s word for it. If you do, I sincerely believe you will find that vaccines have been responsible for a great deal of the containment of this virus. Those who have been vaccinated are better protected than those who are not. That’s the indisputable fact.
But because there is so much misinformation out there from questionable sources, people can actually end up believing that quite the opposite is true.
At the end of the day, we all have to make our own decisions. But social media has made it far too easy to form opinions based on other opinions. And once they have formed their opinions, they become, through some weird social media osmosis, extremely pissed at anyone who tries to correct them or offer a dissenting opinion. This then deteriorated into name-calling and worse.
Granted, for the most part, it’s all just a lot of hot air blowing around. But then some kid named Kyle shows up at a demonstration and kills two people with a semi-automatic rifle he wasn’t even old enough to legally own. And you have to wonder about words and deeds.