As many other millennials (can’t believe I’m using this term but let’s go) I spend a huge part of my daily life connected on the internet, if I had to take a guess I would say I spend 70-80% of my day online, mostly on social media. I’m so aware of this that I started joking around saying to people that I live on the internet, it’s one of those jokes that deep down are true. Of course it’s impossible to actually live on the internet, physically (yet), but taking this association into consideration I deeply care with the place I live in.
And if you relate to what I’m saying I’m sorry to tell you that we are homeless people minding our own cardboard box house.
The Internet became a public space, like a park or a street. Where people come and go, read the newspaper, meet their friends and work. When we are in these public spaces outside the digital world we have to respect laws but we also respect some social conventions, the basics of human interaction that our parents teach us, such as saying “thank you” or “sorry”.
I dare you to say that you follow all these rules online.
I double dare you.
C’mon look in my eyes and say that you never downloaded a song illegally or appropriated someone else’s artwork. Say like you mean it and I might believe you.
But chill I’m not here to talk about these thing, I’m going to talk about comments, the dark alley your mother told you to stay away.
If you have nothing good to say…
I’m not going to repeat the gospel here,
ok maybe just a little, we all know the biggest social issue of social networks and sharing platforms are the trolls and mean comments. Little has been done about and this guy explain a little more about why.
Of course, that in our public lives we meet people who do not follow the social conventions that we are use to, violence and crimes exists. But there is a pressure that keep us from doing things considered wrong or bad, we fear being judged or be called out by someone. On the internet this pressure is taken away by the glow of our screens and the possibility to go anonymous.
Most websites and social media have their own rules and the ones who break them are subjected to penalties. Twitter has made several changes on their social network trying to be more efficient on banning trolls, and they state on the social network rules:
“In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”
But not every website and blog can rely on algorithms or teams specialized in finding abusive behavior, on some of them the content creators have to do it themselves, updating “blacklists” (comments with the words or expressions contained in the blacklist are automatically blocked) or going through each one of them and deleting them manually.
The biggest challenge is to create a successful system or method to inhibit trolls and other people who are using the internet to propagate hate, but at the same time protect the biggest principles of the internet: free speech and information access. This miracle solution was not invented yet, and unfortunately, for me, the real solution is a change on the way we behave ourselves online.
I know it sounds extremely naïve of me, but that’s what I believe in. As Jim Gillian said: The internet is my religion and together we are The Creator, but we have to choose what kind of god we want to be.
What kind of Creator are you?
This was originally written for an academic essay but I adapted for the blog. See y’all next week!
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