Saturday, March 15, 2014

Society: We go from normal state to offended state faster then you can blink an eye

Go back about twelve years from today. Think about yourself and where you were in life. Think about computers and emails. Now think about your personal social and conversation skills. It was right around this time that emails were becoming more prevalent as a form of communication whether if you were in business or a personal setting. Do you remember ever receiving an email back then that you might have taken offense to because of how you interpenetrated it? And then come to find out once you talked to the author of the email that words had gotten crossed and they really hadn't meant to write it in such a way that was offending. 

Now think about today and where you are. How often are you staring at a computer screen? How often are you looking at something online when using your phone? How often are you using some sort of technology as a form of communication? How often are you talking to your friends through these various devices rather then actually using your mouth? 

For better or for worse we are relying on our technology to communicate to friends, family and people all around the world more then ever before. We are ditching our mouths to use our fingertips. Countless articles have been written about how teenagers and people in their twenties are becoming more isolated because of this. Most of these articles are neglecting the other growing trend.  We are truly are losing many of our social manners because of it.

If you type something on Facebook in response to a friend or tweet a statement on Twitter it is public domain. People can choose to interrupt your words any which way they want too. Dry wit or sarcasm can be dicey in these arenas. Because you aren't often in the same room or even the same state as some of the people who are responding to you then becoming offended by a statement is so incredibly easy. 

Since we are so spread out now and yet connected at the same time things are missed. Your daily trials and tribulations are not known in cyber space. Daily shared and common experiences are no longer  forming bonds between people. What is taking the place of all these niceties? Mean retorts. Bully humor. Making fun of others to make yourself feel better and empowered about your situation in life. Misinterpretations are going through the roof in the social networks.

Friendships are broken because people are jumping to conclusions about what a friend might have typed. People get angry and drop friends. Nobody is stopping for a minute and rereading a typed response. They aren't asking themselves or the person who typed it "did they really mean that?". Nope. Being offended is a new state of mind. 

We are all forgetting that my daily reality is different from your daily reality. Which means that the way we respond to things is not cookie cutter perfection. For some reason this really maddens people. While we are all reaching out into cyberspace to express ourselves and stay connected we are forgetting that how we see the same situation can be completely different then someone else's perception of it. 

The other aspect of this is never knowing when or how someone will become offended. Most of it is so trivial that twelve years ago we all would have laughed about it and no drama would have been perpetuated. Sometimes trying to correct something can only make it worse. Which seems a bit backwards to me. 

My advice on this whole crazy thing is to stop, take a breath and reread something that just made you angry. Ask yourself should I really be offended by this? nine times out of ten you probably shouldn't have become angry I bet. Most of us typing away aren't trying to cause a fight.

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