“Bleeping son-of-a-bleeptonian bleeper!” That’s right – you read my retweet trash, my potty-mouth post, my Facebook filth! What’ve I got to lose being rude to someone I will never meet, never know and never befriend, right?
Why does it feel like there’s an increase in people who love tossing garish grenades of indiscriminate conversational carnage? Just posting this write-up will call to every lametroll, creepshot and postpooper to fill the intertubes with vile. These less than passive-aggressive acts of acrimony rarely lead to real-life repercussions, especially when the authors hide behind a fake name or no name at all. More confounding to me is that so many of these same people are reasonable and kind-hearted when they’re in the same room with you. Put that same person at the helm of a keyboard and they become feral beasts of filth, so very far from reasonable and only offering cringeworthy comments? Is this a new form of anger management? An expression of inherent human malevolence from the cloaked digital shadows of cyber anonymity?
I think some of this acrimony of cyber-anonymity stems from the fact that we’re still in the digital wild west of our “modern age”. Only two decades ago, most of us didn’t have our own email, and “blogs” were nonexistent. Our technological achievements continue to outstrip our cultural means to grow with it. Anonymous haters are masked bandits with six-shooters and a penchant for dueling at dawn. Fortunately, just as the “wild west” was eventually tamed, so too will our culture on the web.
Just as Moore’s Law sets forth that we advance almost exponentially in processor power, so too will the landscape of the web change at an ever increasing rate. As we share more personal data through social sites, store our digital treasures in the uber-cloud and conduct more of our daily activities via the web – we’ll stumble upon the advanced cyber-society that (I hope) accompanies that transcendent nerd-vana. Just as horse-and-carriage buggies led to Kit and the Knight Rider, the digital age we are racing through will become a more mature digital culture — instead of the adolescent growing pains we are currently experiencing.
Ubiquitous connectivity to this “interverse” will force our evolution to one of more transparency, where the digital natives will develop online identities that more closely mirror their real-life counterparts. When you can no longer hide behind “no name,” you have to be accountable for your actions, which should engender more respectful discourse in the digital universe. The coming age of technological advancement will catalyze the cultural changes needed to keep pace as we progress from Web 3.0 into Web 4.0.
The days of this digital wild west are limited as we tame this electronic frontier and make it our home. This brave new world promises a new level of global interaction; immediate access to information; and with it, a new age of accountability.
Until that age of anti-acrimony comes, I ask all trolls to tread softly because you tread on my terabytes.
Future of social media on mashable – http://mashable.com/category/future-of-social-media-series/