“You don’t belong on here.”
“Why would you say something like that?”
“Nobody cares, faggot!”
-this user has blocked you-
Encountering others as text. There is no way to feel as little about someone as when you cannot see the look on their face when what you said circles back to them. Teachers and parents will act as if this is a new problem. “Social media has made the bullying problem so much worse!” In reality, just like self-portraits and daily journaling, harassment has been around for ages, and the internet has simply made it easier to share.
It’s easy to judge, right? It’s easy to sit back and scroll, laugh, and make sarcastic comments to yourself. That little ‘Add a comment’ button makes your voice heard, and that’s what you like. But the act of voicing what you believe is where the line lies. Now it’s out there for the original poster to see. And it would be a shame if you could see how that comment hurt, but since you’re faced with only a screen and more text from the other end. You don’t have to interact as a human being, yourself.
Most literate people ‘back in that day’ were religious leaders. I was not surprised to find that priests would often journal, but nuns? Wasn’t it frowned upon for a woman to be educated? Or because she was a nun, was she not considered a threat? Are teenage girls running fashion blogs today considered more dangerous than an upright, educated woman of God?
Society’s instant reaction is to mock young women self-expressing through makeup and daily outfit blogs. Is this because they are so high in number or because it really is about putting women back in their place?
The internet used to be seen as a place where everyone could be heard. This does not hold true today. Mindlessly scrolling, a person will judge whether or not someone should be listened to by their follower count. An educational YouTube page will be given credibility by how many views their content has. Even a news page may be discounted if the site does not have enough ‘hits’ or shares. The numbers are methods of selection, ways of whispering ‘This is who you should pay attention to.’ And is this really such a novel? No. We listen to who we’ve heard everyone else talk about or say is the best.
Even our president uses social media. Now, this is my opinion piece, but an opinion piece on that man alone would be far more than 500 words and I am running out of time before this post is due. Because he is the president, just like his predecessor, many people follow him on Twitter and ‘retweet’ his daily thoughts. This is a perfect example of the past and present colliding: people follow the president on Twitter and assume that because he is the nation’s leader, everything he says is gospel. Is the way we put blind faith in our leaders changing, regardless of if they happen to have a lot of followers or are our literal leaders? God, I hope so.