By Sylvia Shipman, Features Editor —
I came across an article this week that examined the deterioration of manners on the internet. The focus was on how aggression has become accepted as commonplace nowadays, particularly on social media.
The article states, “All it takes is a quick look at the comments of your favorite celebrity on Instagram. You’ll quickly realize the internet is savage. Strangers are mean. The internet turns passive aggression into plain ole’ aggression.”
This is something I’ve witnessed almost every time I’ve picked up my phone and gone on Twitter; a good clapback or cleverly-worded insult will result in thousands of likes and retweets.
The word choice in the quote above is perfect: savage. In the past few years, the words “savage” and “sassy” have become socially acceptable synonyms for being an asshole. The terms “sassy” and “savage” give people an excuse to be straight up mean and then act like it’s funny or cute. Someone can say something horrible and then say “LOL I’m so sassy!” or someone else will be like “Savage!” and that somehow makes whatever insult was said okay. I hate it.
A personal experience I had was when I made a viral tweet that said “When ur enjoying the warm weather in December but deep down u know it’s because of global warming.” Seemingly un-political or controversial, but I still got dozens of strongly-worded messages where people were calling me an idiot for believing in global warming.
It’s important to note that I am no saint, and I’m not trying to be self-righteous through writing this; I definitely have a dark sense of humor and will laugh at a well thought-out comeback or derisive joke. In fact, I love mean humor. Louis C.K. was my favorite comedian until the well… you know.
However, I think it’s worth pointing out that the internet makes people feel validated in being mean for no reason. There’s a difference between being mean to someone who deserves it and being hateful.
For the foreseeable future, overt verbal aggression on the internet is not going anywhere, especially since the President regularly insults opposing politicians and even encourages physical violence.
My final thoughts on the subject is for everyone to think twice before tweeting or even liking a tweet that’s hurtful to someone.