So over the past six months or so I’ve had to defend remarks I’ve made both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of what was said was taken out of context in extreme ways, but what I got to thinking about more was about how things are interpreted online these days. One outburst among some people was a remark regarding the removal of the former CEO of HP Léo Apotheker noting that maybe he was not hip enough to understand today’s digital youth. Sheesh.
With the internet today it seems the understanding of context is fading. When I used to spend time on IRC back in the late nineties and early dot com era for hours on end, making quick witted cracks, jokes and wise cracks online was common place. No one took anything offensive and if they did they were not as quick to jump on the issue. It seems these days, context is thrown out the window. Indeed, it is difficult to gather context just by what someone says but it’s really next to impossible now since we are moving more and more away from normal day-to-day interaction with each other as humans anymore.
I notice that whenever a celebrity, popular Twitter user, musician or anyone even slightly steps over the wrong line with their online persona everyone is locked and loaded to bring them down. What gives? Who cares if a person has a specific opinion on a sports team, or if they prefer Mac vs. PC or if they like a certain brand. Everyone is excited to find every moment to tear someone apart online. Back in the days, the only people that were like this were called “trolls” and went out looking for this trouble. Now it’s everywhere. TMZ is a big instigator in this.
Maybe the rise of a social network for everything has taken over as the norm for typical human interaction and conversation. There exists many people who prefer to use their social network of choice as their personal soapbox to vent their personal opinions, especially ones you may not have known before adding them as an acquaintance online. I have many times in the past jumped in the middle of someones personal Facebook post and hijacked it because of something I didn’t agree with. But maybe it’s not my job to tell someone what they can and cannot say within their own social ecosystem. Who is the internet etiquette police? Definitely not me. Maybe this is why Facebook is a bore these days because everyone is afraid to really express their feelings anymore.