Sunday, February 21, 2010
It is fundamentally human to want to socialize and stay connected to other people. But the internet’s greatest achievement is not the ability to connect or educate or allow business to effectively advertise and market their products or services. No, it is the massive platform it has provided, with the security blanket of anonymity, for people to bash each other. As the pace of the wired revolution continues to expand, showing every sign of tightening its grip on the way we communicate and consume,it is not hard to see how pessimism and trivial-mindedness have become the edifying currency of our generation. Look around you. These two features drive page views, sell magazines, and give people the opportunity to deride and degrade and insult others and their own without worrying about direct retribution. Look at that ugly phenomenon called the “comment” box, whose allure allows posters to say what they could never dare say to another’s face. Shockingly, online content is now responsible for almost one in five complaints about racial vilification. Why are we all competing to bring each other down?