Social Media Side Effects: Cloudy Vision on A Clear Day

Image courtesy of Spiros Derventiotis/CartoonMovement.com

Image courtesy of Spiros Derventiotis/CartoonMovement.com

Seeing things from someone else’s perspective is probably the one single thing that is challenging to all people. Everyone, myself included, probably thinks they are able to see things from another’s point of view. I’d say that most people are capable of seeing another’s perspective with an asterisk. The asterisk meaning, as long as there isn’t emotion involved.

It’s easy to be defensive, it’s easy to be hurt, and it’s easy to be overly passionate about your position. So often people forget that a person’s opinion is merely that, an opinion. Emotion clouds our ability to clearly see what the big picture is. It even keeps us from realizing it’s ok to have differing opinions from one another and still treat each other with respect. The lack of perspective is becoming a concern for me in the future of humanity because of the effects of social media.

Social media gives people digital courage. From behind a computer screen people will say and do things they would be ashamed to do in person, or at least I’d like to think they would be.

I’ve said and done much worse things in person than I ever have on Facebook or Twitter. Something to be proud of? Not exactly. More like some things I’ve apologized for repeatedly. However, social media takes away the need for apologies for many people. It’s become the norm to be overly critical and abusive towards businesses.

For instance, people are constantly saying unbelievably rude things on Twitter to retailers. Take your pick, Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Nike, etc. Someone doesn’t get the product they want because it sells out or there is an error in the system. Profanities and threats follow on Twitter until the person slowly steps away from the computer and moves on with life. The next week they are back trying to buy from the same place once again. I see this primarily in the sneaker community but even in other areas too.

In the real world, if you cursed out an employee at a store or restaurant, odds are you wouldn’t go back. Especially if you had to look the person in the eye that you were throwing insults at. If you did go back, an apology might be the only way you would be able to do so without the uncomfortableness.

Just kind of thinking out loud here like I usually do…perhaps this is one of the most concerning elements of the “social media revolution” even more so than missing out on the live experience to be the person tweeting/posting about it.

Is this something that we should be concerned with?