Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Anti-Social Media

It's clear 'Social Media' is a misnomer. There is too much anti-social going on. Putting aside all the negative aspects, very difficult to do at times, even the social social media is anti-social. I'm not talking about walking down the street and passing countless people staring into their phones, totally unaware of the world around them. No, that would be easy to criticise and reminisce about the good old days when people greeted you with a cheery smile....... and the standard complaint about the weather. I mean people with whom you interact, cyber-friends.

People are losing the ability to communicate properly. There is a huge difference between, for example, Twitter and real life interaction. I noticed things were different immediately but put that down to the individuals rather than the nature of the beast. My humour suffers most, Twitter must be a graveyard for comedians - of a certain ilk. All my life I've tried to make people laugh, I suppose it developed early as a self-defence mechanism, I didn't understand people but knew if they were laughing I could relax a little.

Without blowing my own trumpet, and I've tried, I can usually make people laugh in real life. It's not as easy on Social Media. I didn't realise so much of my humour relied on facial expression and tone of voice. Without these enhancements, humour is open to misinterpretation. People assume the worst and go on the defensive. Another thing is gauging the 'level' of the person you interact with. The person's demeanour has a bearing on the style of humour I would use. Without this I feel I'm just shouting into the fog.

This problem isn't confined to humour, it was just an easy way to explain why things don't work properly. The same is true of conversation. I've said it to my eldest son countless times "It's not what you say, it's how you say it'. He had a penchant for saying the most innocuous things in a passive / aggressive way. He was (is) good at it. You couldn't argue because he would repeat what he said in a different tone with the butter wouldn't melt look on his fizzog. An independent party would rule in his favour every time.

Twitter can be particularly difficult due to te character limitation. Sometimes punctuation has to be omitted and I wonder if the reader is inserting it in the right places. Even things that are crystal clear can still be misread by a hurried or inattentive reader. I'm rambling again, the point being we need these facial expressions, these tones, to understand and communicate effectively. This is the paradox of 'social' media. It is making us anti-social and uncommunicative. On Twitter responding to a tweet is considered by many an affront. This despite the label 'tweets and replies'. It appears these people only like the sound of their own voice. We've all got one 'gobshite' friend (if you haven't it's probably you), on Twitter there are millions of them.

Another disturbing effect is the 'playground mentally' displayed by so many. Sometimes it's hard to believe they are adults. Little gangs everywhere. Twitter elite - the supposed cool kids - must be dedicated to boosting their social media, sort of suggests they have no real life. Trolls, mean-spirited bullies that deliberately try to offend and cause pain or anger. They were probably victims themselves, they're weak and / or just have such low self-esteem they try to break someone else in the idiotic belief it will fix them.

Of course there are normal happy-go-lucky folk, trying to smile and look positive despite world events. Unfortunately they appear to be in a minority.