There has been alot of talk on the twitters and the bloggers recently about social media being "antisocial". I have seen, felt and partook in some way the dark side that social media can create. It is to be expected it is for the most part uncensored, public and people are behind a digital wall, so it becomes easier to fall prey to being not so nice.
There always will be conflict between humans, as not everyone will like everyone. We have different value systems, hobbies, lifestyles and yes emotional baggage, that we carry with us everywhere, it makes us who we are. For alot of people in social media be it bloggers or tweeps the only things we have in common is we use social media and we like people to hear what we have to say and that is it. Expecting relationships or friendships based on these thin bonds is just plain dumb. So we seek out others like us, things we share voices that sound familiar and safe. The only problem is as humans we are not designed to communicate in 140 characters or less, nor on mostly one sided dialog of blogs. This leads to misinterpretation, hurt feelings and judgments prior to investigation through real human contact.
Another aspect of the Antisocial Noise of social media is the so called celebrity factor and ego infrastructure. It is rampant and infectious and threatens to bring down the open access aspect that makes social media such a great tool. We have a hierarchy that is set in place that some are better than others because of the number of followers or clicks on a blog. This is crap because some of the most talented, actors, writers, musicians are the ones almost know about and the so called "A" list personalities are pure poop it is that simple. We are bombarded with noise from self proclaimed "Digital Celebs" who flog their crap like it is the words of God him or herself.
Then there is the bulling, gossip, and digital despotism of social media. This dangerous and damaging behavior is epidemic online. The folks who follow you yet message gossip behind your back. Yes we all gossip to some degree we are human after all. What I am talking about is the mean, from a dark damaged soul kinda gossip meant to divide and destroy. This interaction serves only one purpose to build up someone who is so empty inside that no one else is allowed to be happy. Bullies who use access to events or activities to control and create loyalty is also a common theme online.
Never before has there been a form of communications media that has allowed basically anyone to have a widely heard voice, and it is in it's terrible twos of communication life, allowing for this slash and burn social landscape.
What to do? Well it is simple and hard, disconnect from bullies, divas, hateful gossip mongers. Do not get star struck by twitter and blogger celebrities. Find people who you would like if you met them in the real world. Watch your noise, and just plain be nice. Also remember just because someone has a computer, i-phone, blog and camera does not mean they are nice people who will offer you anything without strings attached.
Are there good people, yes lots more nice genuine folks than not. I personally have met and become friends with some amazing people through social media. People who have changed my life for the better. I have also been burned, by the nasty, witnessed the shallow and agenda filled social climbers. they are the exception but the noise the spew tends to be louder than the rest.
Here are some tips for weeding out the anti-social in your digital stream;
- Unfollow: As easy as it sounds people have problems with this when we base how much we are liked on our follower count. How many people are on your feed that you do not give a shit about really?
- Follow: seek out people you do like encourage people you know to join in to social media so they can have a online voice.
- Call Out Bullies: Do not be afraid they cant really hurt you, so call them out. The one thing a bully cannot take is being bullied back.
- Have Fun: This should be fun not stressful, if you are getting stressed by your digital life, turn the damn computer off.
- Do Not Get Sucked In: I have been sucked in myself, so when you think you are being sucked into a online social situation you are not comfortable with disconnect, take a step back and see the whole picture.