Civility

The case for more human interactions online

📅 23 Mar 2021

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time. As I stumbled through this last week and had both good and bad interactions, both online and in real life, I figured this was the right time. I also, against my own rules, have been reading a bit of online banter.

Well, the title pretty much tells you where I am going with this.

Civility.

That’s a word we probably don’t use near as often as we should. And that’s troubling. Where did it go? Were we ever civil?

I’m not sure we were. At the very least, the argument can be made that there were always A LOT of people that were nasty to each other. There is some truth to that.

I also want to mention people aren’t nice in general. Remember when we used to have duels over disagreements??

But I don’t think anyone will deny that the way we tend to engage online is drastically different than we would engage in-person. On its face, that’s OK. And really, there should be some difference because at its core, it’s just a different venue. Wouldn’t you engage someone differently at the store than you would at a political rally?

Oftentimes, however, online engagements go so far above and beyond any normal standard of engagement that they are rightfully labelled nasty, even vile.

Are you OK with this?

I know I’m not. Why? Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve anything. We are witnessing the continued degradation of our society at the hands of the same companies who promise they are bringing us closer together. You know who you are. Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I have always bristled at engaging with someone I disagree with online. Its almost 100% assured that nothing gets done. I honestly don’t know why people do it. We all know nothing is going to get changed.

Which really brings me to my central point. Why do we do it? Because we want to degrade someone. Yes, literally degrade. We think we are so far above them that we can call them all sorts of nasty names, jump to all sorts of conclusions about who they are or what they’ve done, and essentially piss on their graves and every one of their family members’.

Some people are OK with this because they claim they are right and the other person is wrong. But do you really want to go there? My question to them is, “Are you ever wrong?” This is when, if I’m face to face with the person, the stumbling and bumbling starts.

“Well, I uh, …”

“Is it possible you are wrong here?”

That’s the end of the conversation. And it should be.

And I don’t even care what the argument is about. Frankly, I don’t think it matters. (There are cases where it probably does, but that’s not the point)

The point is we all need to stop and think about what impacts our interactions can have. And if you really think you are out there fighting misinformation, like some Don Quixote, get real: no one is changing their mind.

I’ve probably had some bad interactions online. But I’m not doing it anymore. I won’t continue to contribute to this self-righteous, egotistical charade that is literally ruining lives.

It’s simply not worth it.

Day 45: #100DaysToOffload



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