The rise of Social Media has meant that is have become a whole lot easier for people to be negative towards others. Do you believe that this is good, bad or just plain ugly? Is there a science behind why people are more negative on social media, has it unlocked a hidden evil in us all, was it there all along?
For one, it is not difficult to scrutinise others when you have a screen to protect you. The Internet has become digital-fuelled alcohol, we now say things to strangers that we would never say if we met them. They consider themselves less accountable for their actions. But, I’m not just talking about Internet trolls, they aren’t the only ones who try to embarrass, scrutinise and ridicule people online.
“In the real world people subconsciously monitor the behaviour of others around them and adapt their own behaviour accordingly […] Online we do not have such feedback mechanisms.” – Graham Jones
According to Sherry Turkle’s study based on hundreds of interviews over 15 years, when we let ourselves carry out behaviours online, behaviours we would never do in person, there will most definitely be real life consequences.
“We do things online that hurt and damage real relationships: We’re curt with people we work with; we’re aggressive with people in our families; we bully people we go to school with.” – Sherry Turkle
A negative tweet could have a very long lasting consequence for the recipient. Bad things seem to outweigh the good (in my own experience, negative comments or emotions about myself are much more hardwired into my brain, than the good). Research found that bad news is stored into our long term memory quickly and positive experiences have to be held in our awareness for more than 12 seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.
“The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” – Rick Hanson
Furthermore, Teresa Amabile found that people assume negative statements to be more intelligent than positive ones and we also go negative in our own opinions when trying to impress people with our own intelligence. It’s called hypercriticism. And, negativity seems to get a lot more attention on Social Media than a good old cheer. But why? It’s a sad fact, but maybe people are being negative to get themselves heard.
Personally, I don’t see this as a reflection of someone’s intelligence. I think they have become lost in a dark place, where voyeurism has span out of control and then they have got themselves tangled up in their own ego.
While I understand that the Internet is a great place for people to share opinions, a place to speak their minds. Nonetheless, if this is what really goes on in your mind, Maybe you’re not exactly a nice person. There must be a means of expressing yourself with decorum?
This blog was to show that it may well be in each and every one of us to be negative. And Social Media has made it a whole lot easier. But, it also hurts people, real people. While you might think it makes you clever, it doesn’t. Wouldn’t you be much more intelligent to #ThinkBeforeYouTweet. Think about what you are saying and how it could affect the person on the other side. Try offering advice instead of scrutinising others for trivial things. This is one of the things I love about blogging, everyone is extremely positive and takes the time to get to know each other and if criticism is due, it’s constructive.
“If everyone just stopped thinking about themselves all the time and started thinking about others for a change, then the world would be a nicer place to live.” – Clarey
I’m a firm believer that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it all. And the same goes for twitter:
If you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet at all.