Thought bubble
In the book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Sherry Turkle said “With some exceptions, when we make ourselves vulnerable we expect to be nurtured.” (p. 235) She’s referring Erik Erikson and the expectations coming from basic trust. That’s something that’s completely counter to the way that the Internet often works. For the most part, any time you put yourself out there, you’re at risk of being attacked or ridiculed rather than built up and comforted.

One place for this risk comes from places that encourage intimacy. It’s not always easy to trust people to begin with. Letting your guard down out there in the social media dystopia isn’t always safe. If one makes comments that might be too hard to share in person, it can still end up hurting.

One reason for this is that anonymity allows people to be more negative and exhibit the dark tetrad personality traits when, in person, they wouldn’t act out. To them, the idea that people have feelings or that they are afraid of being humiliated is alien. Often, the enemy only feels good by getting some lolz.

Sometimes you can find a community of like-minded people where you can be safe. This reflects Sherry’s comment “Communities are places where one feels safe enough to take the good and the bad.” (p. 238) I’ve found some, like deviantART, are different than most social media. One reason is that to belong there, you have to put in some work. You can’t just repost an inane meme and belong. A member of dA is a creator. A pretender just looks around and is lurking.

Every time you get in front of a computer screen and post something on Twitter or Facebook, it’s possible to misstep and be misunderstood catastrophically.

The almost empty glass of the Spectacular Age

Thought bubbleThe question of the day is “is the glass almost empty or is it almost full?”

The lens that identified a glass as half empty or half full hardly seems relevant. Such subtle semantic differences don’t matter in the Spectacular Age we are in.

I noticed a bumper sticker today. “Refugees Welcome” with the outline of Indiana. I suggested to a friend that it was really a good message. My friend was concerned that we’re running out and can’t afford such people.

It made me think about how much American perceptions are disassociated.

One can look at the glass and see that it is almost full. We have enough creativity, dedication, courage and hope to solve the problems facing the world.

Or, one can see an almost empty glass. The government is too expensive, the cost of doing business is excessive, society is about to collapse and only radical action can help.

I don’t know how to find a way to pour from my almost full glass to help relieve the thirst of the almost empty glasses. Do you?