What do social media teach their users?

  1. It’s easy to pretend to have read a posting. Just “like” or react in some other way to give the impression that you’ve read and understood the posting.
  1. It’s easy to ignore the people on FB who have different opinions. Despite all the back-and-forth, the taunts, the slurs, the snide comments, the sarcasm, all you have to do is ignore those comments you don’t agree with. No one will fault you for not responding. Well, if your antagonists do fault you in another reply, you can ignore that too.
  1. It’s easy to forget that there are millions of people out there who don’t share your opinions. We tend to stay securely within the fold of the opinions we know in advance we’re going to like. Then those opinions keep reinforcing themselves, as we hear them over and over again. It’s the same way we can separate ourselves from the rest of the world by digging a deep hole, jumping in, and covering ourselves with dirt.
  1. It’s easy to disregard the norms of etiquette, particularly if we post anonymously. Even our parents won’t know how crass and inhumane we’ve become, but, if they did, it’s likely they wouldn’t care. Who taught us our manners, after all?

About brucejberger

Bruce J. Berger has published his short fiction in a variety of print and on-line literary journals, including Prole, Jersey Devil Press Anthology, The Awakenings Review, Raphael's Village, Eastown Fiction, Black Magnolias Literary Journal, and others. He also publishes shorts stories for Amazon's Kindle. He is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at American University beginning in August 2015.
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