I know, I do sincerely apologize to the many wonderful women in our world named Karen. But the term has come to represent the people (mostly on social media platforms, but also in real life) who always have something to say, a criticism to dole out, a point to die on. And social media makes it oh so easy for those personalities to reign free.
The worst is the Ring app. Everyone is named “Neighbor 99” and their location is estimated. It’s the purest form of anonymity. And people are horrible. Truly awful in their snide comments, sarcastic shakedowns, and attacks on people’s intelligence, common sense, and decency.
We recently had a driver cut through our corner lot in the middle of the night, leaving deep tire marks across our beautifully maintained grass. I shared the video on the Ring app, thinking another neighbor may have captured other footage of an obviously drunk driver at 2 am. The attacks I received! I was called “petty” and told “no harm no foul” and reminded that people have so many more problems than that in this world. I was made to feel so small – and the anger I felt as a result was palpable.
Follow a Twitter feed or a controversial post on Facebook any day of the week, and you will see examples of this behavior. Social media is making people assholes. Is that a result of their addiction?
Addiction is an inherently selfish situation. Their daily actions begin to revolve around their addictions. They become anxious, nervous, focused on the next hit to feed their needs. They lose sight of the needs of others around them. Their tunnel vision focuses only on the thing they need, disregarding all other costs and consequences of their actions.
You know the feeling. You get into a little tiff and post a controversial comment. How often do you go back and check for a response? Does it consume your every thought? How do your emotions spike after you receive a response? Do you throw your phone, let out a little yell, pace around the house ranting? We don’t react that way in person. At least we aren’t supposed to…
The lack of immediate, face to face, responses has a couple of effects. First, you don’t have to deal with the conflict face to face. You can’t see the hurt and alarm in the face of your victim. Second, you have more time to simmer and fume in between interactions. Third, you can go offline and get “encouragement” or fuel to your fire from your friends. You send screenshots of the conversation. “Can you believe he SAID that? What should I say back?” We get caught up in the wittiness and creativity of our response, we neglect to consider the impact on the other person’s feelings and emotions.
Here’s a little exercise:
Evaluate the situations in your daily life when you are the kindest version of yourself. When do you react out of the interest of others before your own? That can have a very telling impact on how you are being influenced by external forces such as social media.
I have always loved to write. Over the years I've put my thoughts, experiences and opinions on paper. Some of these posts are old and some are new.