Antisocial media

Online communication hurting our ability to properly communicate

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Friends come and go. They always have.

They just do it more quickly in social media. And often with more fireworks.

While sites such as Facebook have helped people stay connected, particularly with old friends, social media platforms also can be quite anti-social: A recent survey says 78 percent feel folks are ruder online than in person, and two in five people have ended online relationships after a squabble.

Easy come, easy go? It’s easy to sign up as someone’s friend online, and just as easy to sign off, especially since you can do it without seeing them or even announcing it to them.

But there may be other factors at work that make social media relationships so volatile.

One is that we’ve certainly stretched the definition of “friend.” Is a friend really someone you trade political barbs with but never break bread with? Can you really maintain hundreds of friendships? And is a friend of a friend really a friend? Many of us have Facebook “friends” we don’t know and haven’t met.

The truth is, your stable of true friends is probably the same as before; how many of your Facebook “friends” would bail you out of jail or help you paint your house?

In addition, it’s much easier to be brusque with someone through a keyboard.

Well, brusque or flat-out hateful: After famous pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, lost his son to suicide recently, the hate and gloating expressed online was just shocking to the core. No one deserves that kind of treatment, certainly not as kind and good a man as Rick Warren and absolutely not in a time of such seering grief.

That brings up another problem with social media and other nooks and crannies of the Internet: Armed with a keyboard and a modem, people utterly forget themselves. They think they’re in a position to tell Tiger Woods something he doesn’t know about golf.

Social cues that might otherwise alert us to the fact that we’re way out of line – all it used to take was a raised eyebrow – are perilously absent online. Meanwhile, anonymity provides the ignorant with a cocoon against his own folly.

It is not condescension, but rather a word to the wise, to suggest that we should know our place.

One must wonder, too, whether the skill of argumentation is too closely held in society. Unless you were one of a select few on a school’s debate squad, you might have graduated without ever being taught the finer points of forensics. The Latin “argumentum” doesn’t mean fighting; it means “evidence, ground, support, proof; a logical argument,” according to one etymology dictionary.

To make matters worse, after not being taught in school how to argue, we see talking heads on television yell and name call and get emotional while debating the most trivial matters. Our politicians, aided by the let’s-fight media, have wholly demonized each other and our various stances on the issues.

All this incivility and inept arguing can’t help but seep like undergound pollution into many lives, even into our purely social pursuits.

It’s incumbent upon us to rise above all this noise – to realize that while we can and always will have disagreements with others, it makes no sense to put so much emotional stock in most of the positions we take. We can be plain-spoken and principled without being rude and insulting. We often talk of disagreeing without being disagreeable, but do we do it?

And when technology gets between us, go the extra mile to remember there’s a human being on the other end.

Friend or otherwise.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Riverman1
90787
Points
Riverman1 04/15/13 - 06:13 am
6
1
A Case of Attacking the Messenger?

“It is not condescension, but rather a word to the wise, to suggest that we should know our place.”

The same things were said throughout history as writing on walls with pictures first began, through hieroglyphics, formal alphabets, books, mail delivery, movable presses, the telephone and talk radio. What was at work in every case is power being taken from traditional bases and being given to everyone. Some are like the caveman who was made to look bad in a cave drawing saying, “I bet he wouldn’t say that to me in person.”

What is the actual effect of this empowerment of the people where everyone is equal reaching the masses and only the words and ideas they produce differentiate? Powerful individuals can no longer say what they want with impunity. Having the podium no longer means they won’t be challenged even by less powerful people. It’s an equalizing technology just as writing a book was hundreds of years ago.

It could be THEY should learn THEIR place and let the Internet marketplace of ideas, words, humor and insights be the driving force instead of a misguided belief in someone or institution having the right to shriek opinions without scrutiny.

seenitB4
93911
Points
seenitB4 04/15/13 - 06:32 am
3
1
Well said Riverman

We do know "our" place & that could be a big problem for the media..

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 04/15/13 - 06:49 am
1
0
Freedom of speech

We have the right to say what we want in America, but there's another part to that. You are responsible for what you say! Social media provides for "evidence" in cases such as slander or deflamation of character.

Riverman1
90787
Points
Riverman1 04/15/13 - 07:23 am
3
1
Sure Libel is Possible

Gary R, sure libel is possible with someone putting in public print lies that cause damage. On the other hand if it’s the truth or simply humor the rights of the writer are protected. Ditto with slander.

I use to call Mayor Copenhaver Caspar Milquetoast every time I wrote his name. Was I actually saying he was Caspar Milquetoast or was I simply using caricature and humor to make a point? I think reasonable people understood.

Little Lamb
48021
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Little Lamb 04/15/13 - 07:33 am
2
0
Libel

Remember, it's not libel if it's true.

Michael Ryan
786
Points
Michael Ryan 04/15/13 - 07:54 am
4
1
And it's not "your place"

And it's not "your place" just because someone else says it is. Rosa Parks' place was on that bus, wherever she damn well pleased.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 04/15/13 - 07:55 am
5
3
And if you back up what you
Unpublished

And if you back up what you say with verifiable facts, it's not libel either.......something that many people (mostly the liberals) seem to have a huge problem with..... i.e. "George Bush lied." I've asked many times for THAT statement to be backed up with facts, but the libel just continued.

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 04/15/13 - 08:09 am
3
3
Hey there are all kinds of...

Morons, lunatics and nut jobs out there. I don't refuse them the right to say whatever they want. I do find it funny that a media outlet would put a editorial up about the ills of social media when everyone knows they use selective reporting. Pot....meet kettle....

seenitB4
93911
Points
seenitB4 04/15/13 - 08:23 am
4
2
Just so you will know Mr Ryan

I feel like my place is all over the bus....but I will try to be respectful...I enjoy the comments on here as much as reading the news....& I have learned a lot from the comments..I wish we had more free for all spots just like r/rs....we have some smart posters & most are respectful. JMO

Red Headed Step Child
4277
Points
Red Headed Step Child 04/15/13 - 08:46 am
4
0
Anti-social

Ever notice how people just don't sit and talk anymore? I was out to dinner with my family recently, and noticed a couple sitting at a table nearby...both were busy fiddling with their "smart phones" the whole time. I don't think I saw them exchange a word to each other the whole time we were there. They may have been texting each other for all I know...good, quality conversation happening there!

Facebook, schmacebook - if I want to know what's going on with you - I'll pick up the phone and call you - better yet, drop on by for a visit!

LillyfromtheMills
14069
Points
LillyfromtheMills 04/15/13 - 01:35 pm
2
0
Sean

MR is cussing again!!!! Hehee You need to tell him the rules. You leave for awhile and this place goes nuts

Michael Ryan
786
Points
Michael Ryan 04/15/13 - 03:18 pm
1
0
Dang! Got me.

Dang! Got me.

LillyfromtheMills
14069
Points
LillyfromtheMills 04/15/13 - 04:16 pm
1
0
MR

Read the damn rules hahaha It's fun out here in cyber space!

ultrarnr
943
Points
ultrarnr 04/15/13 - 06:10 pm
0
0
What an Oversight.
Unpublished

The Pulitzer prizes were announced today and despite thorough searching I could not find the Augusta Chronicle's name anywhere?
Wonder why

Gage Creed
18920
Points
Gage Creed 04/15/13 - 09:08 pm
0
0
blues550
380
Points
blues550 04/15/13 - 11:49 pm
0
0
Phony
Unpublished

This editorial from a jerk who unfriended a person on Facebook because of disagreement. Talk about phony.

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