There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the internet gives people a sense of anonymity and the mostly unfounded confidence to behave in ways they would never behave in public or when handling a situation face-to-face. In the age of technology, leaping to conclusions, hypersensitivity, and nasty reactions to any perceived affront have become the norm. How sad is that?
More and more we find that people are becoming sensitive and supportive to the plight of victims of bullying. You see more and more moms outraged by the behavior of children on the playgrounds or on the school bus. The problem is that in their outrage and in support of victims, they turn into a vengeful mob and begin bullying the bully. The very act they were so offended by – they are now guilty of. Who can possibly win in a vicious circle of victimization?
I think what shocks me the most is that people immediately react with the most vile, hateful, responses before they really investigate and see if there is something worth freaking out over.
Maybe, if we all took a deep breath and started out with the belief that there was no malice in the mischief, and simply inquired politely or made a simple request in a civil manner – tremendous amounts of negativity could be prevented. What you put out there, you get back, I firmly believe that, and I think that when you leap and attack someone – even if you feel they wronged someone else – and especially if you behave within a mob mentality, you cause more harm than good. And, eventually, that harm will come back to visit you.
I hate to say it, but women can be the worst. We are the greatest nurturers, the protectors of our children, the warriors of our families, and somewhere in there some of us will insist on using our power for bad instead of good. They say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I have to agree. The worst results have come from people leaping out and acting in anger instead of giving the opportunity for a quiet, peaceful resolution.
I witnessed a situation the other day where a person had a valid concern. Instead of simply voicing the concern, they rounded up friends and family to lead a mob of internet vengeance. For what purpose? What satisfaction can you get from letting others do your dirty work? Does it just feel good to have a group of people defending you? Are you that beaten down that you NEED to know that a lot of people will gang up on ONE person simply because you felt wronged?
It must have been horribly deflating to find that the original concern was remedied politely and all the nastiness was for nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Imagine, the hard feelings, hatred, and negativity one person incited over a matter that could have been handled quietly, civilly, and remedied in positive manner. It doesn’t give you high hopes for humanity, does it?
Personally, I’ve watched it happen many times since I started blogging. There are bloggers with an impressive following. These people can be a rabid fan base, and that comes with a certain amount of responsibility.
Unfortunately, when you wield it irresponsibly you don’t get to stand back and put your hands up and say, “But, I didn’t do it. I can’t control others.” It’s akin to shouting, “Fire” in a crowded theater, you didn’t trample anyone, but you still bear the guilt.
Given the recent events in politics and the wide divisions everyone feels right now, it’s important that we each take a little responsibility and try to avoid conflict and bring a reasonable, peaceful resolution to disagreements wherever possible. Somebody has to stop it somewhere… why not you? Why not me? And, why not today?