Friday, March 31, 2017

The power of a tweet - my thoughts on Jon Ronson's Ted talk about Justine Sacco

Just a few thoughts after watching the talk below in which Jon Ronson discusses the fallout from the Justine Sacco twitter row

The internet is a little like a brain made up of billions of connections, ideas, opinions and voices. This brain has vast amounts of stored knowledge but I am afraid that it's losing it's emotional intelligence, its compassion. The you tube comments section can often be akin to traversing the seventh circle of hell, am I right? So many cruel, destructive comments, thrown out into the ether so easily, so anonymously; no consequences. 

The opinions which divide us as people seem to have become more important than shared human experiences that unite us; experiences of joy and grief, hope and fear. Human beings are nuanced, flawed and full of contradictions. The internet seems all too ready to reduce these grey areas of common ground to black and white zones where we wear our labels and live comfortably, sheltered in our own filter bubbles. 

The internet has so much potential to empower. It has so much potential to enable us to make connections with different people from different cultural, racial, political and economic backgrounds. The internet can be a beautiful, free, democratic, tolerant and compassionate space where we can learn, grow and enlarge our perspectives or it can become a suffocating bullying ground where we become afraid to speak for fear of being taken out of context, mocked or threatened. Silence is less than golden under these terms. 

I hope that the collective consciousness of the internet will continue to evolve toward openness, tolerance, compassion and kindness rather than exclusivity, cliquishness, mindless cruelty and scapegoating.

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