We are beginning to face a cultural conundrum within our world. What are we going to value?
The existence of the Internet and our current social media tools have begun to unravel the traditional ways we interact with one another and how we organize ourselves. The unraveling process has brought to light some of the hidden motivators in society.
We thrive on drama and sensationalism tantalizes us to engage.
Just look at the prevalence of the mention of tweets in the news. Why is what’s on Twitter even news anyways? Because it cultivates a culture of drama through the constant commentary on life people can give in 140 characters or less.
Twitter does not allow authentic dialogue. Twitter’s character limit allows interactions to incur in short, usually loaded, jabs that leave no room for discussion.
The Internet provides a false sense of anonymity that leaves users feeling as though they have placed on a “cloak of invisibility” as some scholars would describe. Within this realm of anonymity of the Internet, we no longer see people as people when they aren’t in our immediate sight. We replace individual humans that have feelings with machines that do not. A culture in which we no longer see each other opens us up to a culture of bullying.
While in the “real world,” the world that exists offline, we as a culture have worked hard to protect individuals from bullying, we tell a different story online.
In our culture, we are lifting up individuals as leaders who are pushing their way to the tops of our feeds often through sensationalized comments that devalue our shared humanity. One does not have to look hard to find concrete evidence of such leaders.
The emergence of these types of leaders creates a perplexing narrative of our current values.
Offline we do not tolerate one thing that is praised online.
At some point, we are going to have to choice because our society cannot live forever in this place of dissonance.
So what are we really going to value?