Social media has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. It’s now easier, faster and far more efficient to send a text message, tweet or snap to interact with your colleagues, friends, and family.
The speed of modern communication has come at a cost. Misinterpretation, peacocking (making it seem that things are better than they are), and virtue singling have replaced the ability to engage in meaningful conversations. Now online conversation is mostly one-way and takes place with less than 400 characters. Any counterpoint can be met with ignorance, indifference or hostility. Civil discourse among individuals is on the decline.
It should therefore be no surprise that social media is now becoming weaponized. With little opportunity for explanations, conversations and respectable debate on tough issues such as sexism, racism, and gender identity, huge divides have erupted in the population. It seems to be common sense is now off the table during debate and individuals who have experience with some of these intense issues need to pick a side and stand firm.
While social media can’t take the entire blame for this hostile environment we’ve created for ourselves, it is responsible for how we are conducting our less than efficient means of communicating with one another.
Tough issues are tough because there’s no easy solution. Simplifying the arguments of these topics only appeals to our primal side. We have evolved over thousands of years to be able to listen to one another and take feedback. When you eliminate this ability you push civilization in the wrong way. Perhaps (and likely) we’ll be just fine and figure it out. In the meantime, suspending judgment on every micro issue is probably the best course of action.