How the Internet Has Affected Our Civility
by Orion Lukasik
I’ve wanted to write about this for some weeks now, but I was unsure of what exactly I was experiencing. Recent news”along with some very well written articles”has helped me to put it all in perspective.
I’ve noticed how our culture in general has become more brazen in it’s attitude toward each other. In the last few years I’ve noticed how people are communicating with less care of the outcome from their actions. In the news in the last month or so we had two examples of just how this phenomenon is growing; we had a U.S. Senator shout ‘liar’ at the President and a disgruntled music artist”after an award had just been made” storming the stage and grabbing the mic from the winner to rant how someone else deserved it. Now, I’m not so concerned here with who was right and who was wrong as I am about the act itself; in each case there was no concern for the circumstances or code of ethics for each event, let alone the person it was directed at.
I’m all for good, direct communication. But I was at a loss to describe this kind of action toward each other. Then one day I was reading the local paper and the author was speaking to civility, or the act of being civil to each other. I don’t subscribe to what I see as a more prudish application of this term, but rather to the social skills that allow us to live together. Some time later I was on the internet reading some discussion forums and it hit meâ�¦I was observing that very behavior by the bucket load! There it was in plain text, people who were shamelessly saying things and making accusations that were stunning others who just wanted a decent or civil discussion.
So how does the internet figure into this? Well let me share my thoughts with you. In the earlier days of the internet came the advent of email; a new, fast method of writing a message and sending it to someone many times faster than the old way that we now affectionately know as snail mail. What changed was not so much the ability to hide behind a pen “in this case keyboard” but the amount of time you had to think about what you wrote before actually sending it. Just about everyone I know has a horror story of that one, flaming email they wrote to someone only to accidentally send it or one that was sent in haste that was much regretted later. Take this to the next level with those that write and send volatile emails with no second thought to it. Again, the keyboard is a nice safe place to let your mouth run without your brain engaged because your not face to face with the person you are communicating with. I know from my own personal experience how I went through a phase where I was much more uncivil when behind the keyboard than I would be in person. Herein lies the real mechanism to what has been developing over the last decades “a culture where a lack of civility has been steadily growing thanks to the ability to hide behind a keyboard and”more importantly” a entirely different persona.
As the internet grew, so grew the technology and the emergence of instant messaging. Now you have the previous situation on steroids, and it ranges from modest boldness to outright trashing of everything that makes us human. Not only can you now interact in â��real time’, but you can do it with most of the human factor removed; you’re not face to face with the other person, watching their actions, reactions, body language, expressions, etc. It’s much easier to ignore that fact that you are actually interacting with another human being, and over the years that has fostered an overall change culturally.
Social media is the latest generation of online technology that allows us to interact in online communities. In it you will see occurrences of the same lack of civility I’ve been describing, but I believe this is the beginning of a reconnection with human civility in the world of the internet. With the amounts of information that can now be shared about oneself”and the interconnectedness between social sites, blogs, and other online forums of communication”there is a detectable turn in the tide back toward mutual respect. People are actively choosing civility…I see it happening. I’m an internet marketer and there are still people out there pitching their business opportunity every 5 minutes or chatting you up just so they can pitch to you or even spamming the heck out of your message inbox with business opportunities. I recently had someone send me an ‘add’ request on Facebook and pitched me right in the request! Really! I bet you these same people wouldn’t THINK of doing that in person. But what has also started happening is the emergence of groups”or tribes”of people that have chosen to interact with each other socially and putting business into that context rather than the other way around. So it’s happening; people are choosing civility.
No doubt, the internet has had significant affect on our culture, and made permanent contributions to the manner in which we interact and communicate. Even though civility may have taken a hit, I think in the long run we will be better communicators for it and with our humanness intact.
I offer consulting services to anyone interested in network marketing and/or internet marketing. I approach marketing from the standpoint of personal development and the observation of human nature, so my style tends to have a more easy, natural flow with the way people think and act in the marketplace. I educate in the responsible use of attraction marketing and ‘self branding’.
My mission is to share 20 years experience as a small business owner and network marketing entrepreneur with anyone interested in building wealth and prosperity for themselves.
copyright@2009 Orion Lukasik