Monday, May 30, 2016
When Did the Internet Become so Mean
When Did the Internet Become so Mean?
When you look at that you may laugh. Part of it is funny. But there’s some truth to it. How is it that the internet has become so bitingly mean? And I say this as a very connected person. I’m on Facebook, I tweet for my job, my professional development, and a personal Twitter account. I have an Instagram for my class, and one for personal use. I downloaded the Snapchat app. (I still have no idea how to work it!) I surf news sites, education sites, sites for writers. Heck, I have a blog, and I freelance as a writer. I like the internet. I remember when it was so new we had the dial up modems, but there were so many possibilities! We would be able to talk to people online, and get information online. And that all came to fruition; because of social media I have been able to stay connected with friends, and I have been able to reconnect with friends who could have been long forgotten. I constantly get information online. And sometimes a news story comes along that unifies everyone; the ice bucket challenge for ALS, the teen who took his terminally ill mom to Prom, or cute lip syncing videos by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.
And then May 29, 2016 happened and the internet lost its mind. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, there was a tragic incident on May 29th at the Cincinnati Zoo. A child got into the gorilla enclosure, and a gorilla was put down. It was tragic because a little boy was traumatized and hurt, an endangered animal was shot, and I can’t even imagine what this mother was thinking as she watched her son be flopped around. All of a sudden everyone on the internet became an animal conservationist. And an expert on gorillas. And an expert on parenting. And began to call for the mother to have her kids taken away, shot, or called a list of expletives that I don’t feel comfortable repeating here. (You know what I didn’t see? Concern for the child. Understanding for the parent.)
I could go into my thoughts on this. Who is to blame and in fact I almost did. But then I thought, why. Why do we have this need to blame somebody? The mom, the zoo, the child, society. Why do we need to have an immediate answer and resolution? Will it make everything better? Will it change what happened?
Can’t we just read a story without the need to fill the comments section with hateful language about people we don’t know, and will never meet? With stories like these, where people are thrust into the limelight, and never asked to be, why do we insist on giving them our two cents?
Why are we so mean?
Why don’t we take a minute and think about what we’re going to write?
(And why don’t we proofread-but that’s a different story!)
I know there isn’t an answer out there for this, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to write this. And maybe that makes me part of the problem, I don't know. I do know that way back in the reign of AOL, I never imagined that the internet would be used to spew such hatred.
Reflecting about this, I was reminded that there are good news stories out there so for your further reading…