In a time where we are on the brink of change, with a number of highly important and controversial issues at stake, many have gone to social media sites to post their opinions. Many of these posts are assertive and somewhat brazen. They create debates that can get extremely aggressive. The responses can even breach into rudeness. This poses a question: why are we so rude online?
The anonymity offered through social media has created a feeling of invincibility, and also invisibility to users. Professors from Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh performed a study, which asserts that browsing through Facebook lowers our self-control. Dr. Sheryl Turk, a professor at M.I.T, explains that we loose much of our inhibition on Facebook because we don’t have to see the reaction of the person we are addressing. She hypothesized that many forget that they are technically speaking aloud on social media sites, and don’t see the consequences linked to their posts.
The aggression that has become more common on social media sites, especially Facebook, has become drastic enough to alter friendships over differing opinions to highly controversial topics. However, the issue is not the difference of opinion, but the nature of which the disagreement takes place.
Have you noticed an increase in the aggression on Facebook? Do you think the anonymity Facebook, and social media as a whole, offers is creating a forum for ruder comments? Is there a way to still foster debate about important issues, but regulate the aggression?