Back in the day, social media was more of a place to find long lost friends and socialize online. These days, though, social media seems to be more about debates and ugly conversations, especially when it comes to religion and politics.
We all know of friends who stopped talking with each other because of intense disagreement on social media. I personally know of former friends and neighbors who got their circle of friends all caught up in their online feud.
Maybe, social media is making us unsocial and we’re just too deep into it to notice. The TedX video below says as much.
That is the sad reality of our super-connected world. What is meant to connect us managed to drive deeper wedges among us.
Or did it expose what is there simmering just under the surface?
Maybe this cacophony of voices is inevitable. When everybody is given a microphone, we’d be shouting at each other clamoring for attention. But what it does is help us select the people whose message and tone closely align with ours.
Finding one’s tribe had been one of the biggest benefits of the World Wide Web. Perhaps it is also its greatest danger. When we organize ourselves together and shutdown others. Or worse, when we actively demonize other groups we are diametrically opposed to.
For some, this multitude of voices is not something to shy away from. I know a friend who intentionally engages people he disagrees with. He had been the recipient of various online heckling and attacks. I would say that he also hits back sometimes.
Maybe that is the nature of this beast called online engagement.
I once had a shirt with a print that states: “If you can’t take the pain, don’t play the game!”
There is a price to be paid for online dialog and engagement. And if you’d rather not take deal with that, maybe there are other ways of fighting our battles.