Monday, February 16, 2009

Social(ly Responsible) Networks

Several years ago I wrote an article expressing my feelings about social networks, specifically in response to a MySpace posting. It was my first look into MySpace and I had just stumbled upon a particularly hurtful entry that the writer did not know how to make private so it was on the network for all to see. It was a personal family matter, yet here it was for anyone to see, even the people it was about, but whom the writer had not intended them to see.

Time heals all wounds we are told and time allowed this event to fade and for hurts to be forgotten, at least for the time being. Since that first adventure I have cared little to explore the various social networks. Like most everyone with a computer, I am registered on several, but I am dismayed by the continuing tragedies hidden among the contributors, the deeply hurt young people and others unable to cope with the insults, humiliation and hateful intent. Lives are literally lost as a result.

I understand that there is also much positive content that truly provides support, fun, knowledge and many other useful forms of connection. It is, by far, the predominant content. I simply would hope that we could show some level of respect for one another and ownership of our contribution in all mediums of relationship. Personal insult and accusations may best be resolved face to face rather than in the anonymity of the dark spaces of the Internet. If one cannot deal with that, maybe it is best to forget it altogether!

After posting the article written earlier, I decided to withdraw it because it really was a personal experience. The fact that it recently came up for me did not make it necessary to share the details again.


The Logistician said...

This is interesting Dan, in that David Denby, the author of "Snark" spoke several times over the weekend on C-Span2 Book TV about the change in the tone of discourse in our country.

My sense is this: As with all technological advances, there is the good and the bad. I think that those trying to do good, and something positive attract others who feel similarly. There may be an occasional intrusion by someone with some other agenda, but in the long run, those of us interested in communicating about positive things will benefit. We never would have been able to connect had it not been for this tool.

Dan Perin said...

As I mentioned, there is much more good than bad in the blogs, but as to the general degradation of discourse, I think the tone is definitely on a downhill slide. Just look at the responses to Obama. The is NO gentle discourse at all. There is a strong desire within the general population to voice discontent after being gagged for so long and ignored. While Obama recognizes and positively exploits this, the Republicans remain mired in an disgraced and outdated philosophy on all levels. Until civility is restored the discourse is basically two monologs. Obviously, I am really in a "downer" about this condition, and not simply as an Internet issue.