Evolution of Communication?

It seems that these days anyone with a computer and an opinion believes they have a right to tear others down. I’ve been working online since February 2000. Since the advent of ‘social media’, which only became widely used by the public from 2006 (though it would seem that it’s been with us always right?), and the blogosphere there has been a disturbing increase in trolling* and directly having a go at other commentators who don’t share our opinion. Scarily they not only don’t see this as bad behaviour, but their right! Their right to not only tell you you are wrong, but to tear you down and insult you in the process.

Have an opinion and share it sure – that can lead to healthy debate and growth – but when you name people in your reply you’re no longer responding to the initial question or sharing your opinion but trying to engage them in an argument. When you do it insultingly, that doesn’t make you right. And given the person is unlikely to see your reply anyway, you’re arguing in a vacuum. Share your opinion but respect others. Don’t presume to know someone just because you see them in a social media space.

Scarily this is adults behaving this way – but I think it begins with the kids and what they are being modelled by others in their lives, and fed via popular media and changes in societal values in what is considered ‘appropriate’ or ‘good’ behaviour. The boundaries around what we will accept have loosened.

We give kids ribbons for showing up and don’t keep score in sporting games so no one feels like a ‘loser’. Yet more kids feel like ‘losers’ than ever before.

The problem is compounded by so-called ‘reality TV’ shows that teach our kids that nice guys finish last and the ‘winners’ are the ones who are the most bitchy, the most aggressive, the most under-handed, conniving, loud-mouthed or sneaky. The ones the most adept at pulling others down. The ones with the best scathing remark or comeback. Burn! That gets ratings! That gets ‘likes’! That makes you a ‘winner’! Skill now has little to do with winning. Jump forward to adulthood and those same kids are now snarking at others online and thinking they’re smart for doing so.

And our girls are given the message that to be liked they have to be ‘beautiful’; to be ‘popular’ they have to behave like a porn star and lose all self-respect. Walk around in shorts more like boy-leg underwear, swear, French kiss your girlfriends in public, take selfies and post them on social media that come straight from the pages of People and Playboy and that makes you a winner. Tear your girlfriends down to everyone else, incite and engage in violence so you can be videoed and uploaded to YouTube, be malicious, vindictive, spiteful and you’ll be the most popular girl in school.


We now live in a world where communication is relegated to 140 characters, hashtags and LMFAO acronyms. Where kids no longer help their friends out when they’re in trouble but video it on their smartphones and post it to YouTube and Facebook to see how many ‘likes’ they get – as if that equates to popularity or how good a person you are.

True bullying behaviour has been diluted by the constant use of the word to describe people just not getting along – so the real bullies fly under the radar as we focus our attention on trying to make people friends – who never are going to be. We can’t all get along but we can be respectful.

Online communication has become spiteful – perhaps because that’s what we see every day in popular media.

But when you push that energy out what comes back to you? It becomes a vicious circle.

Put the social back into social media and remember the art of respectful communication. Be authentic. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face what gives you the right to say it in a social media space? Is that what your mother taught you?

I believe we need desperately to go back to basics and teach our kids the 3 Rs:

  • Respect for Self
  • Respect for Others
  • Responsibility for our Actions

It’s what we’ve taught ours and so far so good – even as we enter the difficult teenage years. Everything – EVERYthing – comes back to those three Rs. Follow those – LIVE those – and everything else falls into place.


(*Trolling refers to behaviour on the internet by a person who deliberately attempts to create disharmony by trying to start arguments and upsetting people.)


© Earth Goddess Wisdom – www.earthgoddesswisdom.com

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