There’s was an anniversary of sorts that recently past, as it’s now just been over ten years since Facebook was founded, which unofficially kicked off the social media era. Before that, the Internet, the World Wide Web, was a cold dark place. A catalog of information that was dictated, where “spam” was no longer just a mystery meat. Social media was when the Internet became user friendly, where it became a warm inviting place, and not just geeks trolling and hacking on message boards. We continue to advance forward into uncharted territory, this in regards to the aftereffects of this technological marvel.
Oh Internet How I Love You So
It has altered our lives, it has completely transformed the world, as any type of information that’s needed, can be retrieved with a few strokes on the search engine.
It’s completely influenced our society in unexpected turns, such as that recent election, along with everything else, from media, shopping, dating, to music.
The Internet along with social media, does is provides more positive values than bad. What it’s permitted for are instant connections with friends or school mates, who we thought were long lost.
What it exposes is an unbiased flow of raw data, which was never available. The Internet is a democratic force, where anyone who wants to say anything, could have their say.
It’s now turned into blatant unfiltered consumerism, such as online businesses, blogs, and advertising.
The Deep Anonymous Web
Like anything else that’s human nature, there’s always an evil undercurrent, and the Internet and social media are no different.
What it often feels like is it’s anarchic, where there are dark shadowy figures, where anyone can cowardly hide behind the anonymity of their fake avatar, this to enact mischief.
Social media has become a platform to release pent up anxiety. This “avatar” universe, where someone in real life who’s bound to social convention, who are thought accountable and conformist, can easily set up a fake account and spew hate.
On the good side of the ledger, what social media allows for is freedom of expression, for those who otherwise wouldn’t or dare in real life.
Bloggers, or those active on social media, will become more brave online, while connecting with like minded others, who they normally wouldn’t converse with otherwise.
What it does is strips social anxiety along with a variety of other conditions, which would otherwise affect their “face-to-face” interactions.
Damn You Free Speech
What it also does is allows the voiceless to appeal, an open forum to indulge in mischief or malice, this without the fear of direct or immediate repercussion.
It’s opened the door to new avenues of engaging in bullying, deceit, or any other toxic behavior, this while hiding in their dark basement, where their IP address can’t be traced.
The Life Of A Troll
Trolling is online “slandering,” a neurotic behavior, where anyone with spite can hide behind their keyboard, and vent.
This could be a mild mannered accountant with anxiety issues, who can anonymously and vigilantly voice their distaste, where they can harass anything or anyone they don’t like.
Trolls are usually harmless, they just want their voice of displeasure heard. They are malcontent attention seeking citizens, who “shouts” out their stress.
They do so by provoking others, this with socially unacceptable hostile comments, all behind the safety net, that is social media.
Online forums and the “comments” sections of any media publication, are prolific with this trolling behavior, which becomes a dilemma for publishers, as they have no idea where to draw the line.
Fake News Is Real
What some claim is that the recent election was shrewdly crafted, this by amplifying and polarizing social media opinion.
Misleading information is the “clickbait” of the online media driven economy, where provocative stories induce “clicks,” which drives revenue.
What’s worse are the sites which serves up “fake news,” where on purpose, what’s published are intentionally misleading, frankly erroneous stories, circulated as being true.
What the information then becomes is a lightening rod which ignites human anger and anxiety, tendencies which can and have been manipulated by those recognizing certain trends, all for the glory of monetisation.
An Addict Is An Addict
Another disruptive behavior is the addictive nature that is social media. The instant gratification one gets, can become highly alluring.
From a tap on the screen at a moment’s notice, one can immediately go online, and then access the commentary of others, their postings, their cry.
This immediate interaction can often be pleasant and positive, but once it begins to turn into a distraction from real-life activities, this constant stream of stimuli, can become a bad thing.
A Virtual War
All of the social pleasantries can also suddenly turn on a dime, into heated arguments and conflicts. The overexposure of opinionated one sided biased news or events, can quickly turn into emotional grief or toxicity.
What social media does is amplifies our human weaknesses, which can expose our darkside and misery. What’s thought is social media can potentially worsen depression and anxiety, for those who are prone or vulnerable.
The State Of The Internet
What pundits, futurists, and researchers need is to continue to examine the psychological effects, along with the tendencies of this rapidly accelerating social media universe, and provide warning signals to the public as needed.
The intention of this new virtual world is for the good, as it emphasizes human connection, community building, opportunity, and freedom of speech. But the undercurrent that provokes social media, shouldn’t be ignored or underestimated.
Everyone needs to remain aware and vigilant of is negative impact, how human impulse can be mislead and manipulated, this towards the dark side.