Ok, first off let’s all agree we’re tired of the BS online. I’d be happy to not see rudeness for the “lolz” or trolling horrific things. We’re all aware of the creeps, drama, and how most things are fake online. I acknowledge all of this. However, I bet you all of that existed somewhere else before the internet. Which is something that got me thinking, are we blaming the messenger?
See everyone blames social media for highlighting materialism or for making people narcissistic. It’s “corrupting” people this way or that way. But that’s like saying the holidays made me gain a few pounds, and hence holidays are the root of the issue! Rather than admitting weakness with self-control. The blame goes to the internet for creepinsss, when it’s humans using it to be perverse.
It’s not just a mirror, it’s a super magnified mirror for humanity. If you’ve ever been brave enough to look at your face in a 5x magnified mirror, you’ll know that nothing looks pretty that close up!
I bring this up because there’s always a very negative conversation going on about the internet and social media specifically. It’s a great escape goat to place blame on, or deem as evil to justify dismissing a topic people are uncomfortable with. That the internet “burnt” everyone out on a hot button issuse, so don’t talk about it anymore. Or best yet, let’s all of us scream “fake news” at each side of an issue. You then can walk away from it much easier. While there is fake news, this term is often more used to shut down conversations. Which won’t do anyone any good. It’s ok to say you don’t feel this conversation is getting anywhere, let’s agree to disagree and walk away. We don’t have to invalidate each other clinging to the desire to have everyone agree.
Yet the internet couldn’t exist without humans. It’s only highlighting issues we’ve been better able to hide in the past. It only gets in your face, or burns you out, if you’re spending a lot of time on the inter-webs. And there is the option to take a break from the internet. I know, not realistic long-term. At least not with the current direction of human development. But it’s still ok for a couple hours!
Yet, just like a magnified mirror, backing away can make the image so blurry you don’t see that suspicious mole, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. One day you’re going to have to address the issue. Having a chance to see it when it’s smaller, means it’s easier to address. We get annoyed at social issues blowing up, yet they only got that way because they went ignored too long. Building up until it bursts.
This new era of humanity can either be the catalyst that forces us to take a deeper look at things humanity needs to change, things we all have to work on. Or we can allow all of our inner demons to destroy us.
So, I may say that there is so much good going on in the world, yet where is it all online? Well, it doesn’t “sell” well. So, fear and negativity are pushed because that’s what spreads quickly and far. It’s preying on the whole concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The foundation of which is your basics, survival and security. Then moves up to family/relationships, and then on to self-esteem. I won’t go too far into that though. I think we’re all pretty aware of the potential for manipulation.
Plus, I’m no saint in all of this, as at times I too get sucked in. So, please don’t think I’m preaching to you. We all have work to do.
I’m just saying, don’t condemn technology for the evils of humanity. Instead look at it as an opportunity for growth. If something repels you so much, find a way to get involved and make changes. But do it respectfully. I see people get involved because the issue is so important, then they spit poison at anyone with a difference in opinion. That’s not helping.
Remember none of this is new and maybe that’s showing us we need to approach things differently. People have battled it out over important issues since the dawn of man. Corruption in power, and using that to manipulate others, has existed throughout the ages. It morphs to adapt to the different ages. Today it could be the media or government when ages ago it hid within a religion or dubbed itself royalty. Today it’s morphing to adapt to our world. Being more connected means we see it more, but that is good because corruption doesn’t function well when visible.
How We Can Shift the Paradigm
If you see a day where everything online is soul crushing misery, that destroys your faith in humanity. Find something positive to post. A quote, a photo of your goofy pet, or heck make a silly face selfie. It won’t change the internet, but it could boost those in your little section of it. Maybe it will spread. Or if you see it’s a day the internet is being used not to inform, but to just push negativity, then get off of it.
I don’t mean for your work or whatever you have to do. I mean the mindless scrolling through news, social media, etc. However, I also see so many people stressed about not being available 24/7. You miss a nonessential phone call or message at 4:55 pm and decide to wait until the next morning to reply. Yet that person has a straight up hissy fit that it took you “so long” to respond. Even calling back within an hour, I’ve had platonic social interactions that demand to know why I wasn’t by my phone when they decided to call me for an update, which was that they had no update. Seriously? I went to the bathroom, do I need permission? No.
I’ll age myself for a minute and say, we didn’t have cellphones when I was younger. Or they weren’t widely used. You generally had to wait a lot longer to get a return call. Sometimes days of playing tag with each other’s answering machines (aka antiquated voicemail). Somehow, the world did not implode. It’s ok to take a couple hours off the internet. It’ll be there when you get back.
My point being, the internet is molded by our interactions with it. Literally, look at how the ways we interact within the internet is evolving and shaping it. Brands notice trends and those in power see what holds influence. It’s changing society, we might as well get in on that possibility. There’s all of this opportunity to be involved in ways our ancestors never could have dreamed of. Jobs that never would’ve been an option. Or how you, yes you, that one person in this big world, have a higher chance of making something that could impact a massive amount of people. That’s power within your grasp. One that only multiplies when we connect and join together on a cause. And I firmly believe, that despite all the negative and work needing to be done, there’s an overwhelming amount of good in people. People who aren’t afraid evolve and work together. And that will prevail.
Let’s all learn to practice looking at it with a bit of objectivity so we can see if we’re being emotionally manipulated. Find ways to enjoy research, so we’re not just taking force feed facts. And being able to recognize if it’s something that hits us in the feels, it could be because it needs to be addressed. But please, let’s not forget to find time for adorable animal videos. Like this one, and a doggo for good measure! I won’t leave you with all that and no cute animals to wash it down!