“Twitter Fingers turn to Trigger Fingers….” – Drake
Throughout time we have had many inventions. Many things created by human beings to improve our lives in general. From something as simple as the remote control for your television to something as impactful on our lives as the television itself. Whether it be for our safety (the traffic light) or our pleasure (the push up bra), it can be assumed that most of these conceptions were made with an impact of progressive intent. Things made to push humanity forward in one way or the other. A trend that I don’t see ending, despite all of the Artificial Intelligence destruction theories ala IROBOT, and the like. The internet and more specifically, Social media is not an exception to the rule. Both in regards to the positive effect on society and in the possible hand in its self-destruction. Now I don’t pretend to read minds or know what a next man plans for his or her creation, but I like to believe that the motivation goes beyond monetary. I like to believe that Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and even Tom Anderson really wanted the world to be a better place through these apps and social media sites they developed. I mean there is so much potential in the idea that Facebook and the like can make the world smaller, by making human interaction a much easier practice. The internet and social media could be the greatest communication devices since the cellphone. Just think about it. It’s much easier to share ideas, cultures, and theories. In its most ideal form a Muslim man from Afghanistan should be able to communicate with a Jewish man in Israel, giving them both a chance to discuss their differences and hopefully find truth and understanding in the end. Or a black nationalist can or could be able to send a message to a white supremacist and have a dialogue on what separates them. Unfortunately like most good things intended by God, humans distort. We have found a way to turn something that should’ve created a unity, into something that aids in our division. That same black nationalist doesn’t reach out to that Klan member for a better understanding of his views. No that would be too optimistic. Instead he posts his own in an offensive manner, almost daringly inviting the supremacist to step into his electronic ring and commence in a typed out slug fest. The Muslim man doesn’t get to engage in a debate of religion and find a common ground with his counterpart Christian. No, no that would be far to humane, ironically. Instead the Christian will post not only his devout belief in Jesus but also his disdain for anyone who places a similar level of faith in the Quran. Social media has become at its simplest a worldwide roasting session for anyone who doesn’t fit into a particular box of normalcy. This of course is determined by whomever is doing the roasting. You would think by having a platform that allows the smallest amongst us to have a voice equal to the largest, could only be an improvement on civilization. But we’ve found a way to degenerate it into an egomaniacal, opinionated and judgemental tool. Better yet a weapon that we can freely swing and chop off heads of confidence with anonymity. It has made the weakest among us even the playing field with trolling and the strongest to beat down those who don’t measure up. The fitness guru can make fun of the fat girl, all while really being a nerd behind a keyboard trying to feel better about the fact they have no date on a Friday night. A place where one can give their strongest feelings and beliefs on Halloween costumers in black face, only to be vehemently dismissed by someone who subscribes to the theory of “you will always offend somebody.”
Quite simply we have ironically amplified our ability to not listen to each other. We have honed our talent of paying attention not to understand, but to only respond. And we don’t respond in kind, but rather in fury. Much like the fire that was discovered to keep us warm, the net has become a flamethrower burning many to their core. And if we aren’t careful, this or one of our inventions will be the creation of our end.
Slang Hugh can be found on instagram at @SLANGHUGH