Front and center, it’s your pride and joy for all to see. It’s your picture of an adventurous day or a delicious meal, it’s your video of something funny you captured, it’s an opinion or information you want to share with others and it’s the well formulated response you give when your content gets a reply. How highly we regard our own content and how much fulfillment do we get from our thirty seconds of fame. Because that’s all it is, thirty seconds of fame. Irrespective of how important you believe your argument is or your conversation is, your picture or the content you posted. Depending on how many people you follow and how many people your followers follow within hours, minutes or even seconds what was once a front page headliner is now a back of the page puzzle that no one pays much attention to. So what we thought to be the hot scoop of the day was over shadowed by Sally’s controversial comment claiming that global warming isn’t real or that racism doesn’t exist and then the impeding onslaught of everyone else who chimes in to give their opinion (I don’t know who Sally is nor do I know if a Sally has those opinions, it was just a name that rhymed with mine so I used it).
For something that is so short lived we sure do place a lot of time and effort into it. Unless you have the staying power which let’s face it not many of us do the things we held in such high regard become disregarded and all of it does and will disappear. Now by no means am I saying don’t share. The pictures I get, the videos are entertaining, and the opinions, well they speak for themselves. What I’m so interested in is the reactions. So I ask, was it worth it? Was it really that important? Did it need to be said? And the good old “Will this matter in 5 years from now?” I’ll rephrase that to make it relevant in the measure of Social Media time “Will this matter in 5 minutes from now?” (Here’s a hint the answer is usually no.)
I’m by no means being pessimistic however I’m trying to put into perspective the tiny spec of importance this all really has in the grand scheme of things. What is it about Social Media that gets people so riled up about certain topics, what are we sharing that creates so much controversy, or have our overzealous opinions and over active minds gotten away from us. I’m going to argue the latter. There’s nothing wrong with a good debate where we express opinions and take in the others, argue the points and move on with a fresh perspective or holding the same views as you did prior. However this isn’t what takes place, instead what has been created is an argumentative environment, not just for debate but for aggression with more than just intentions of sharing, but to obliterate their opponent until they have the inflated ego of a hot air balloon and the other a sad deflated sack of what used to be grand ideas and opinions.
With a device at our fingertips and Facebook idling in the background we become a passionate and creative bunch crafting arguments and insults and thank you google not only can we sting like bee with the fighting skills of a cyber Muhammad Ali we now have the brains to rival Einstein with every possible answer available to us. So we’re primed and ready with all resources needed to jump down the throat of a person who doesn’t share the same thought process as us, or in social media terms someone who views content differently and expresses what they see and how they see it, or the person who shared an opinion, joke or had a question who then cops it up the proverbial for sharing such things.
Here’s the break down, why are we so likely to disagree on Social Media or just in daily life…
Difference in Interpretation: While I’m seeing one thing my counterpart sees another. Two people will never ever have the same interpretation of something. We all see words and images and conjure up our own interpretation of our true meaning. Therefore humour may often go a miss and misinterpreted by someone to be “racist” or “insensitive”, or people offended by your boldness to share something too taboo to discuss in public. Just one example of the number of things we so often misinterpret and what can happen over social media with no social cues to guide us.
Attribution Error: Disagreeing with someone means we are likely to decide that we disagree with you because you are, wrong, dumb, argumentative and just plain annoying. We create assumptions about the person and their character because they disagreed with you. We reassure ourselves about how right we are, how great we are and how much of an idiot the other person is. This is how we turn a spirited debate into a nasty argument.
Social Reinforcement: Simple. Our tendency to support our own tribe! Seeking reassurance from the rest of the clan. E.g Screen shot and sending to friends to rally the support on how right you are!
Based on these theories about how predictable we are because I’m positive we’ve all seen this before and been apart of it think about what you’re fighting for, or are we simply making it all up in our heads (chances are both parties are fighting over varying interpretations of the same situation)! You’re actively engaging in a performance that only like minded people are going to support, where’s the importance in that?
So I hereby would like to propose something to you. Will it give your life any less meaning to simply let people have an opinion, will it physically cause you to combust to just scroll past without giving that person a piece of your mind, to let sleeping dogs lie shall we say, or just not acknowledge something that may not even deserve to be addressed. Try it, because somethings just don’t matter and sure enough like most things do those words on your screen, merely just a myriad of pixels, will disappear into the abyss of cyber space, never to be seen again (unless of course it’s a nude picture those types of things have a habit of resurfacing).