I think there needs to be a national day of “step away from your computers and smartphones.” We can then use the time to take deep breaths and focus on not being so angry.
For at least two years, I’ve been making excuses when people comment about how mean everyone had gotten on social media. I would blame politics and say it’s making people crazy or, worse, filter less. Meanwhile, I’m hiding more and more “friends,” so I don’t have to experience their meandering rage.
Today, I’m barely on social media because I’m over it. It’s like when Oreo came out with Double Stuf. They were great, but after eating a sleeve (or two) I discovered I’m more of a chocolate wafer girl. All that filling was just too much.
When it was just a dollop it seamlessly melded with the wafer, but once they doubled down, the artificial flavor kicked into turbo mode and the Oreo acquired an aftertaste of “I don’t want it anymore.”
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The same thing has happened with social media. I don’t want it anymore. It has unleashed the worst in people.
If that’s not depressing enough, this blob of emboldened fury has slimed its way into all forms of communication, where it seems more and more of us feel like we’ve been ordained to be the Royal Highness of Jerkdom.
It took a neighborhood website to show me how bad things have gotten in the “I’m thinking it, so I’m going to say it” department. One would surmise that a neighborhood website would be the place of somewhat civil communication. After all, you live in the same ’hood and a certain veneer of politeness ensures cul-de-sac harmony.
It’s not like Facebook, where people feel as if they can make a hostile comment with nary a care because chances are slim to none that you’re going to ever have to experience any in-person awkwardness resulting from that harsh rebuke you wrote on a the page of a former high school classmate, who now lives in New Jersey.
But your neighbors are a constant in your life. You see them while walking your dog or even getting your mail, which would make it kind of important to dial down the jerk or knee-jerk reaction.
Sadly, an innocuous question left by a fellow neighbor about when the Christmas decorations were going to be removed from the entrance of the neighborhood turned into a flurry of erroneous comments, from picking on the alleged volunteers who put up the wreaths to who goes to board meetings and how lame the homeowners’ association management company is.
It all made me very sad. How does one question become a dumping ground for neighborhood angst?
No one wants to problem-solve anymore. The go-to now is just to complain or, what I think is even worse, make comments that have zero basis in fact.
What’s happened to us?
A decade ago, I don’t think this would have occurred. I believe we were still following the other golden rule — hiding our true feelings lest we hurt someone else’s. Now, it’s an open season on just spewing whatever thought pops in in your brain. No care or concern is given to the consequences.
I would have thought that a neighborhood website for a small Kansas suburb would be something of a safe space. But it seems we’ve become a society of disgruntled fingers furiously typing away in any online forum with a comment section.