Vita Brevis Breviter In Brevi Finietu

Vita Brevis Breviter In Brevi Finietu

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Life On The Net

I've been inspired to write this blog post after much thought about the nastiness on the internet. This is nothing to do with the Stop Online Piracy Act, which seems to be the news topic of the moment. Rather, its about human behaviour towards other humans via the internet.

There seems to have been a huge rise in 'internet trolling' and 'flaming' of late. I personally have witnessed it on many a Facebook page, YouTube video and Twitter tweet; all of which make it very easy to post any sort of comment as quickly as you can type it out. I don't want to slag off social networking sites, I for one enjoy using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter et al. They make communicating and sharing information really easy and fun, who doesn't love looking at photos that friends have tagged you in or receiving a dozen happy birthday tweets?!

Personally, I do not want to see graphic, disgusting, abusive or pornographic content when I sign into the likes of Facebook or when I watch a video of funny cats on YouTube. I don't want to see people being emotionally hurt and mentally tormented by anonymous users. I have no desire to spend my time annoying others; why would I want to spend time on people I don’t even know when I could be doing something I enjoy or being with someone I do care about. It may sound selfish, but I really don’t have time to waste on total strangers who innocently lead their lives not bothering me. I just have no interest in it. It's not for me. 

I don't think these sites should be used to bully people or companies anonymously from a safe distance. I personally feel that this is a bit of a silly, immature way of lashing out, I don't want to advocate violence or confrontation, but surely there are better ways of dealing with things than just posting nasty comments? It would be nice to think that maybe some people don't know the damage it could cause its victims, but I'm not naive enough to believe that for a second. I can vaguely see why it would appeal to certain people/situations. Who hasn't wanted to tell the whole world that their ex is a prat or their boss is a bully or to laugh when people you don't like do something stupid at some point? It's normal to want to express negative feeling towards something or someone, but only in a controlled manner. There are plenty of people who have done bad things towards me over the years, but I've learnt to not fight every single little battle by lashing out with anger and hatred, but to just shrug most things off, and when I have to confront an issue that makes me feel very negative to do it in a way that causes no lasting damage to any party i.e. talking about it then deciding to resolve the issue or to just simply walk away and move on.

What I don't really understand is why antagonise and insult someone just for the sake of it or for fun? Calling someone a nasty name might feel good for a minute or so, but it doesn't really make you look like a nice person or offer any lasting satisfaction. Why post disgusting photos or make fun of people for their race, religion, sexuality or even their general appearance? So what if someone is overweight, has a huge nose, likes gay sex, has crazy hair, cries because a celeb couple have split up or believes in the tooth fairy, it certainly doesn't affect my life. Why post cruel messages on Facebook 'tribute' pages so that grieving family and friends can be further hurt? One of the worse acts of cruelty by far. Would it be funny if you died and people laughed? Is there a line between what is acceptable to say/do/post/comment to another human being? Is this line variable depending on each act of cruelty, or can it be defined in a mass way? I know what I find acceptable, but everyone is different. Do they do it because someone did it to them? Do they all lead tragic lives after being sexually abused by a neighbour for years or are they all well off, well educated, intelligent and just bored? Is this worse/better than physically hurting someone?

I'm sure there are psychological and behavioural studies beginning to appear about this style of activity, and if there isn't already I'm sure there are studies being conducted as I type. I do wonder if they'll link it to some sort of mental or health condition or an environmental factor. My bets are on them attempting to relate it back to violent video games, explicit music and a lack of discipline in schools. Whereas I am strongly opposed to restriction and censorship of (nearly) any kind, I do believe that certain things should only be viewed by audiences that are considered eligible eg films with adult content should be on after the watershed, swearing shouldn't be featured on the radio during the day. I feel that this just prevents vulnerable or young people from accidentally hearing/viewing things that are not designed for them. However, I do feel that mature, level headed people should be able to subject themselves to whatever they deem suitable personally, rather than what is decided by a governing or censorship body, so long as it includes the correct warnings.

As this problem continues to rise it will be interesting to see how police and governments handle it. I don't think I know any people who engage in this activity, I'd like to hope my friends simply have more productive things to do. But it would be interesting to have an open and honest, face to face chat with people who do gain satisfaction from it. The first question I'd ask would be “isn’t it just simpler and easier to be nice or just not bother with them?”. Who knows. I just think the world would be a lot nicer place if people just couldn’t be bothered to be nasty and hateful towards each other. Heck, you don’t even have to waste energy being nice to others if you don’t want, just keep to yourself and leave people to their own lives.

Everyone is amazing in some way, but everyone is also pathetic in another. Why can’t we just get over it?

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