I wonder what would happen if people were forced to consider every side of an issue before making a statement or spouting off some 140-character hate-tweet. I wonder what would happen if every post everywhere was forced through a Snopes filter. I wonder if everyone spouting off angrily about the gorilla that was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo would spout off if they were there. I mentioned something on Facebook about this. I am sad about the gorilla. I am not angry at anyone. It was an awful situation.
The internet, however, has imploded over this small issue, without, as is usually the case, facts.
It used to be that people were told to not talk until they knew what they were talking about. Now, it’s more important to talk, just talk. Facts come behind cool sound bytes. (See: 2016 Election Season, all parties)
We live in a world of big mouths. We’ve taken extroversion to the extreme. Speak first. Yell if you have to. Shut everyone else down. Agree with the best sounding words. Everyone else, you're all dolts. It’s today’s main form of communication. People get their news and information from 15-second sound bytes. I blame social media. The internet. Forums everywhere. Facebook. Twitter. News feeds with 30-second clips meant to incite emotion rather than inform. All of it. It allows people to shoot off opinions and take strong stances on things they know nothing about. It allows people to populate the internet and our minds with the worst thoughts of humanity (See: Fat shaming, mom blaming, kid bullying, etc.) It makes me sad for our society, and our future. I like to think the best, though. I have hope that this is just a horrible horrible phase we're going through as we learn how to behave in this 'everything now, everywhere is here' world. We are, by nature, compassionate. We are meant to live in groups and to help each other.
On twitter, I follow the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Neil deGrasse Tyson (who probably doesn’t follow the Pope, ha!) and Chris Hadfield, because he did a cover of Space Oddity in space, while astronauting. These are all peaceful people who have hope for our future and hope in our people.
I prefer to listen to hope and inspiration. I also prefer to believe that in the majority of instances, if these highly opinionated and under-informed denizens of the net were ever in a situation where someone was in need, basic human compassion would win, and they would help. I prefer to believe that. Because it would have been real. Not something seen on TV or in their Facebook or Twitter feed, where the viewer can distance themselves from the situation, make an instant emotion-based decision, and post some crazy rant about charging the parents or letting gorillas kill little boys.