Who Is Actually Winning?

16 Jun
       I am just wondering about something, and I offer no apologies to Charlie Sheen. But who is actually winning online with personal attacks and daily negativity. Most of what happens in the headlines anymore, it seems, has some connection to social media, or is fanned by the same. So, this has me thinking. As the author of several books, all of which discuss some relevance of social media to generations and American culture in general, I am concerned how we might back away from our online presence and face the real world.
       Do many of us respond to personal attacks in our daily lives, face-to-face, as we do online–especially from political foes? The ad hominem (against the person) attacks have to end because they keep our emotional states heightened. I bet, if you are like the average Internet social media addict, you have had more than one occasion when you simply could not close out your page, or “x-out” of your browser, without just one more post. This compulsion has consequences for us all. One of these consequences is our interpersonal relationships with flesh and bone humans.
       How many of us have lost friendships in the real world, over politics? Now compare this to our online presence. The latter is the cause of many an “unfriending,” or even familiar disputes unlike those we would dare bring to the table each night.
       I wonder just how many of us would have the temerity to go toe-to-toe with an adversary in real-life, as we do on our social media pages. For example, Twitter is a wasteland of insults and negativity. People relish the ability to craft a well-posted 140 characters.
However, if we stop and think about our post prior to “tweeting,” we might reconsider.
Are we intent to insult and correct people as we would in 140 characters offline and elsewhere? Do we really think that because we do not know people that others we do know are not seeing anything we write?
I am totally aware many of us do not want to give what we view as “hypocrites and double-standard practitioners” a leg-up with what is posted. We are told to fight back! We cannot let those liberals or conservative win.
       But how would we handle this in real-life? My hunch is most of us are not as aggressive with others in real life. Therefore, if we would avoid that kind of conflict in real-life, yet undertake the conflict on social media, then isn’t that also hypocritical and a double-standard in-and-of-itself. I think it amazes people to see that we accuse others of doing, is often the foundation of our own shortcomings.
       Far too many of us we have discovered the ease of giving in to a new temptation–the temptation to incite, foist, fester, and even drop F-bombs, as we attempt to even the score. But what is the reason we give in? It cannot be anonymity, because there truly is non online. it cannot be because we are always right in what we write or how we come across. I think we give in because we do not have to read much at-length. We simply have to respond with the first thoughts that come into our heads. If emotions are also involved, it is even easier to respond. No one I know would stick around a place where they were not “liked,” for days, weeks, and even years.
       Admit it. We really like being “liked,” on social media–especially by people whom we have never met. On some level, we find more than a modicum of importance–the temptation to think our input is greater than even the clock-looking website onto which we post.
       OK, bottom line questions: Who actually is winning the online back-and-forth? And who cares? Is the soul of America being made great again by our actions? What about the children that are watching us? Are they learning all the wrong tactics when there is disagreement?
       If we expect the next generation, Gen Z, to use the Internet wisely and appropriately, then should we not be about the business of exemplars?
       OK, lecture from Dr. Z. to be continued . . . Are you taking notes? **wink**
       Your thoughts?

2 Responses to “Who Is Actually Winning?”

  1. darinbellblog July 10, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Ernie,

    My belief is that people wouldn’t slander, attack, put down, or even drop f-bombs to someone if they were standing in front of the person in real life. There would be some restraint on their part because there is a sense of personal responsibility for their actions in public.

    The problem with social media is the anonymity of it. Since people are hiding behind their computer and can’t be seen, you see the sinful side of humanity coming out.

    I gave up social media because of this. Not directed at me but the general “going off” people would plaster on their pages. It’s not something I care to be a part of. This also pertains to the comment sections of online news articles. People just don’t use discretion and I’m afraid that a generation has/is being raised that don’t know how to debate in a civil manner.

    I hope your having a great summer Ernie! Take care.

    Darin Bell

  2. drerniezarra July 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    Hi Darin! Thanks for the post. I completely understand your moving away from social media. it’s all good. I have book #7 coming out next May. You might want to check out some of my others. If you do, let me know what you think. Hope things are well with you. As far as the crazies go online, I just moderate them out, delete their posts, and block them. They are not worth the time or energy and they certainly are not going to ruin my day. Life is a blessing. Miss your posts, my friend. 🙂 Stay in touch,

    https://rowman.com/Action/Search/_/zarra/?term=zarra

    EZ

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