Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dark Side of the Social Internet

I guess it was inevitable.

Social networking is THE thing these days what with blogging, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace (well, maybe not so much) and other sites. Along with the social part comes something that everyone's mom would cringe at and would then send us to our rooms with no supper over... Rudeness.

Only its more than just being rude. Its some people feeling like they can get away with just about anything because of the anonymity afforded by the very nature of the internet. Everyone is basically faceless and unknown to everyone else and likely to stay that way.

This lends itself to blog comments calling the blog host a "moron" or an "imbecile". And it goes downhill from there. In extreme cases, the rudeness devolves into bullying and whether you are a direct target or not, bullying hurts everyone. 

The unfortunate thing is, most of these bullies hide behind the Constitution (if they're American) if they're caught. The vast majority are not caught or stopped. So, where does that leave us? In the dark, mostly. I don't have any answers. 

I wonder, though, would most of these internet bullies behave the same way in a real-life, face-to-face meeting? Would someone who disagreed with a movie or book review call the reviewer a "moron" right to their face? I'm guessing the majority of them would not. So, why do it in a blog comment? Because they can. Because there's a shield there: Anonymity. Yeah, maybe you fill out a form with a name and an email address in order to comment, but there's still no actual contact, no apparent reason to act respectfully toward the other person.

Right now the only weapons a person has is 'moderation' and ignoring the bully. What happens when you ignore a bully? They try harder. It becomes a 'Catch-22' situation that can easily spiral out of control. I don't like the possible answers, but I really don't like bullies.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Republican Who Supports Gay Marriage And Doesn

I'm not from New York. And I'm not a Republican. But right now, I'm very proud of a Republican from New York State. The Honorable Roy McDonald has restored my faith in humanity. I admire him. He is worthy of admiration.

A Republican Who Supports Gay Marriage And Doesn

He stood up against the party line and said "Enough!" He is doing what he's supposed to be doing. Its easy to uphold the rights of the strong, but difficult to help the weak secure those same rights. Democracy is NOT about making sure the strong continue to win. Its about making sure everyone has a chance to at least enter the playing field. Senator McDonald is doing his part to make for a more equal playing field.

Its very easy for us liberal types to lump all the conservatives together in one group and say that they're all the same. Hell, they do the same to us. But we know they're wrong about us, which pretty much makes it even money that we're wrong about them. And Sen. McDonald proves that. He said to hell with the party line and decided to stand up and fight for a group of people to get rights that they should already have. We need more people like him. I don't care what political party anyone belongs to, not really. What I care about is that those elected officials do what is right, not what is expedient. I want my elected officials to fight for my rights, which means they have to fight for the rights of everyone, whether I like them or not because my rights really won't mean a thing if someone else can't exercise the same.

Senator McDonald, thank you. Thank you for being an honorable, admirable person who believes that ALL Americans are entitled to equal rights.