Honoring My Mother: Snap you

If we were to judge the world by its hair-trigger reactions on social media, we might safely infer that, my oh my, this is such a touchy planet. Have-a-piece-of-my-mind is now the new normal and ‘I am, therefore I exist,’ has turned out to be more alive than ever. The voicing of opinions, in the internet, seems to have broken through the surface as, in just seconds, you could bear witness to hundreds of perspectives from so many different people all at once.

Not long ago, I commented on the results of a sports poll where a controversial basketball player was chosen as MVP. My expectations of healthy exchange from this innocent poke had immediately turned into a disturbing experience. A continuous stream of replies, ranged from a few agreeable likes to almost a hundred dissenting retorts, slowly began to flood my thread. What was surprising (and sad) were the vile and hateful messages that, in the first place, should never ever find their way to print. Like roaches out of the woodwork, they came unrelentingly and I thought, “who are these people?” and “why so much hate?” I likened the idea of comparing these newly-emboldened digital warriors to cowardly snipers who hide in the bushes, confident of their anonymity. Check it out yourself. Pick out any present topic of discourse from any page on social media and scan through the comments. You’ll see what I mean.

Alarmingly, bullying through the net these days has likewise turned rampant, particularly among students. The shocking thing is, this has yet to be given proper attention by the authorities. The phenomenon is being treated by many as common pains of growing up and as part of life, but studies however have shown that some student suicides are directly related to it, and yet the issue is still being swept under the rug

Alas, these point out that the proverbial pen, or the keyboard/keypad had now evolved from being just a tool for expression and communication, to becoming a weapon against one another. You could say that in this age, it (the pen) has truly become mightier than the sword.

With technology greatly improving communications, and thus enhancing our ability to express ourselves, the evolution of shortcut expressions, only hint at how adept we’ve become to modernity. Emoticons can now readily explain in one simple image what one generally feels at the moment (atm) and their usage has become as simple as Thanos’ finger snap. Acronyms such as “lol” (laughing out loud) and “smh” (shaking my head), simulate via the keyboard real-time responses, as though in actual face-to-face conversations. Now, there’s even news reports of thought transference-to-screen experiments that, while ridiculous to consider a few years back, are now possible and actually being tested and fine-tuned.

In spite all these that have brought about a voice and the sense of empowerment in everyone, almost always, the perception that “everybody’s talking all at once”, has become the more overpowering downside.

For that matter, one wonders, is anybody listening? The chatter is like hard rain falling and, to borrow from Dylan, it’s almost like, “the sound of a wave that could drown the whole world”.

While others may have slowly gone back to basics (like no-devices during family dinners, for example), the most common reaction is still that of total surrender to this “brave new world”. Go with the flow, Joe. Embrace and ride the wild tide of the future. Meanwhile, the writing on the wall remains unheeded, and I believe it should be addressed soon.

Quo vadis, human race?

Posted in Opinion