Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Internet is in flames

Have you ever asked yourself why internet users are so angry? I have and upon reflection took down most of my social media accounts leaving only Facebook, where I have pared back on everyone except REAL friends and family, and Twitter, which is where all comic book people seem to post. Even so I still have to read or scroll past some of my family and friends' flame-filled rants. I admit I have been guilty of the same, but I really try resist throwing a scorching Molotov cocktail in the direction of those I don't agree with . . . most of the time. So why do we engage in this hateful kind of behavior?

In the infamous words of Mel Brooks, "C'mon, you do it, you know you do it and you're going to do it again." But why? Does it accomplish anything? Do you feel any better? Does anybody ever change their minds? The answers are simple: No, no, and no.
Live Science wrote, "online comments 'are extraordinarily aggressive without resolving anything.' this is according to Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. 'At the end of it you can't possibly feel like anybody heard you. Having a strong emotional experience that doesn't resolve itself in any healthy way can't be a good thing.'"
I mean that seems common sense, right? But we still do it anyway. One thing I've noticed on social  media sites and the comments following any article (where they allow comments) is the proliferation of the "Anonymous" aggressor. One thing I won't do is post anonymously. If I have something to say and I can't say it to someone's face (or in this case on a social media site) that's just cowardly. Maybe it's the distance or the fact that we don't know who so many of these commentors/posters are. Writing as yourself teaches you to be polite. Like my mother always said, "You can tell your teacher (boss, professor, store clerk) whatever you want as long as you do so politely and respectfully."
 Professor Markman believes "A perfect storm of factors come together to engender the rudeness and aggression seen in the comments' sections of Web pages. First, commenters are often virtually anonymous, and thus, unaccountable for their rudeness. Second, they are at a distance from the target of their anger — be it the article they're commenting on or another comment on that article — and people tend to antagonize distant abstractions more easily than living, breathing interlocutors. Third, it's easier to be nasty in writing than in speech, hence the now somewhat outmoded practice of leaving angry notes (back when people used paper)."
When was the last time you flamed someone? Did you do so anonymously? Did it make you feel better? Did the receiver of said flame change their mind?

17 comments:

  1. This article has made me realize that people do let go of every feeling on social media; especially the feeling of anger. I have only done that once in my life and it did not make me feel good at all. My lashing out on social media just made the problem seem bigger than it really was. I do not find a good reason to justify what I did. Now I do not like to let go of my anger on social media, nor do I pay attention to others problems.

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  2. The last time I flamed someone was actually yesterday in an online game called League of Legends. For some context, League of Legends (or LoL for short) is a multiplayer game in which two teams of five fight it out in a virtual arena. Since it's a team game, it is obvious that cooperation and teamwork is important. Yesterday I had a game where one of my teammates was playing poorly, and I proceeded to harass them for it and just said some very mean things. It was anonymous because I was playing under my screen name, and at the time it made me feel better, but now I just feel bad. The person I flamed didn't play any better after I flamed them, so it was basically pointless. Instead of flaming them, I probably should have gave them helpful advice instead.

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  3. I only have two platforms of social media. Twitter, which I strictly use for sports news, and Instagram, which I use to also follow athletes and a few friends. I've never been a fan of people feeling powerful behind an anonymous picture and name so I rarely ever do it. I only do it to people that deserve it like trolls and haters. Most of the time flaming doesn't change someone's mind. It just usually entertains the people watching while causing unnecessary drama. Like one time I flamed a girl that said something really racist on Twitter. All we got were other people commenting with laughing emojis.

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  4. I have never flamed anyone on social media. I use it as a positive outlet to communicate with friends and family. Social media has become a platform for people to say how they feel without a filter. While social media can be fun and entertaining it has become very dark. It has become the mask that bullies hide behind to put others down while not revealing who they actually are. It's easy for people to taunt others behind a computer screen.The mistreatment of others on social media has become entertainment.People pull out popcorn and kick their feet up at the site of a video that shows a girl getting jumped.Social media has become a place of violence and anger when it should be a safe place with positive energy.

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  5. Although I do agree that people on the internet do have the tendency to be much more expressive and critical than in real-life, I do not think that should be viewed of something necessarily bad. People on social media are more direct and aggressive because it is tempting to agree or disagree with someone you do not know and share why you think you are right (just as I am doing right now). Although manners and politeness are important traits to have, they aren't really necessary when talking to someone online. People should not care or be "butthurt" about what people say on the internet. The last time I "flamed" someone was for fun. I said "boy, that hairline is so far back imma need an airplane to get there." Did I do it anonymously? No. The point I want to make is that the internet should not be taken this seriously.

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  6. Some people may act based on impulse. We know that everyone has something that triggers an individual from behaving in an aggressive demeanor. Whether if someone comments on a political background, offends one’s family members, or insults one’s opinions, it may trigger a response. The response that is triggered is caused by impulses, which is why some people – or most – act on impulse. When it comes to articles open to the public, we constantly see debates between users. These debates occur from disagreement and stubbornness, which is also where people flame one another. Sometimes we flame someone without the intention of hurting the other individual. But when it comes to strong opinions, it is difficult not to say something that hurts others. Yes I have flamed someone, but not anonymously. The debate escalated that we both were being stubborn and not respecting each others opinions.

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  7. The last time that I flamed someone was on Sunday when one of my new hired coworkers tried to tell me what to do, was super rude about it and was super demanding. It got me mad because of the way she said it so I told her that she was going to help out the customer and said things that put her in her place. It made me feel better because I confronted her about it in person and showed her how angry I was. My coworker did change their mind because after I said that she went to help the customer rather than ask another coworker because she knew that I wasn't going to help her.

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  8. I have never flamed anyone on social media, I am entirely against the whole arguments online. I feel as if there is no point, arguing online is not even solid... it is a cowards' way to flame someone. What good is it to flame someone when you cannot even say it to their face? Regardless of this fact, I would feel no remorse for flaming anyone, if it is my opinion I will go on and say it. I am entitled to my own opinion, and if I want it to be heard then so be it. Today's' flames on the internet are so vicious and in a way childish ...the sender hides behind a screen LITERALLY. Why state an opinion as anonymous? If you have something to say , say it to the persons' face.

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  9. Well all know that flaming on the internet versus real life is never the same. Some one can be so fired up with someone on twitter but then when you encounter in person the flame surprisingly is gone. The whole concept of arguing via online is so childish very un-mature because one it shows that you don't stand up for yourself and if its anonymous than literally you shouldn't even be talking in the first place. I don't flame people online nor in person if I do I am straight forward with it and never to the point where fighting is needed just talk and be mature about it. One big tip I can say about flaming online is that the victim shouldn't get "booty ticked" to whatever is being said online because its a screen and words not someone else in your face saying the things. So all you need is to block and delete and continue with your day/life.

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  10. The last time I flamed someone was probably back in high school 2 years ago, while I did it anonymously. At the moment it did make me feel better, because people agreed with my statement. It was about something small so there was no big controversy around it as a whole. The receiver didn't really change their mind because when I posted it they had no idea it was about them. If this said person had known I feel like they wouldn't have anyways, because they have a very stubborn personality.

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  11. I'll admit, I have a slight love-hate relationship with the internet and its social media outlets. Its a great distraction (good and bad) but its the one place that you will see the polar extremes of comments.
    I have never 'flamed' anyone online, I believe in the saying 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all', and that being said, even if I strongly felt that someones opinion was wrong, I wouldn't take time out of my day to be disrespectful about it, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including those I disagree with.
    In a hypothetical situation, if I did 'flame' someone, I may feel satisfied about letting out my anger in the moment, but like everything else, moments pass, and I'm left with my comment or my rant among a sea of others that are barely ever heard, so what exactly is the point of it all? In addition to this, if you disagree with someone, that clearly means that they have the opposite opinion as you, and if you wont change your mind, how would they?

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  12. As an active Internet and social media user, I can agree that there is a lot of hostility among other users. I think as time progresses, the Internet and social media just keep becoming more and more popular and appeal to more age groups. There are many possible reasons for people to argue with each other over the Internet, such as politics and morals. Issues can be even more superficial, such as gossip or rumors. I find it funny that people always have so much to say when they are able to hide behind a screen. It's never really the same when you talk to people over the Internet compared to when you speak to them face-to-face in person. The last time I flamed someone on the Internet was a couple months ago on Twitter. Although I don't have a Twitter account anymore, this boy who I graduated with commented on my sister's senior picture that she tweeted. In her photo, she made her hair very ugly and smiled really big; she wanted to have a funny picture on her student identification because it wasn't going to be in the yearbook. The boy I graduated with basically called it stupid. Without being anonymous, I told him that he doesn't have have be worrying about what people in high school are doing since he graduated, and that he should keep his opinions to himself. I am never argumentative over the Internet, but since it had to do with my sister, I felt the need to say something. Flaming on him did make me feel better because a lot of people saw it and "liked" it, so they probably agreed with me. He didn't respond to my comment, probably because he knew that I was right. I'm not sure if he changed his mind, but I could care less. The issue that we talked about wasn't that deep and I could easily put it in the past.

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  13. We live in a generation that loves to flame and bash others while hiding behind a screen, especially when the flaming can be done anonymously and virtually. The last time that I can recall flaming someone online was back in the good ol' days when kids ruled Facebook and sometimes liked to post about stupid things that no one else cared about. I, unfortunately, was one of those ramblers who liked to complain about my daily problems while still keeping my posts anonymous enough to where only a few of my close friends might understand. For example, my middle school crush was being mean to me so I rushed to my computer after school and posted something like, "boys r soo dumb >:( !!!!" I probably didn't feel better after posting that status and definitely just did it for attention or the hopes of him seeing it and maybe being nice to me after. I doubt he felt anything when he read it (if he even did see it...) and I was probably worried about other drama the following day. The point of this pathetic childhood recollection is that posting about your problems does not fix them. You might get a rush after posting or some sort of weird sensation, but you could be exerting that wasted energy into something that is actually productive. Don't be lazy, do something crazy!!!

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  14. Reading this got me thinking about all of the tweets I see everyday. It is true that nearly everyone who posts on social media are often angry people. I also agree with the fact that if i actually had something to say I'd rather just say it to their face. The last time I flamed at someone was when i was a little. I was still a child and up to today I still regret doing that. It didn't solve anything. It only made the problem bigger at school and involved more people than it should have. It definitely didn't make me feel better.

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  15. Of course, people feel freer to flame through the Internet for the same reason drivers on the road may show disrespect to others in ways they wouldn't imagine doing face-to-face with a stranger: the mask of depersonalization reduces the feeling of empathy. That is, "flaming" someone to their face is more difficult because the expressions of anger, fear, sadness, etc., as well as their immediate reply is enough to dissuade (except for sociopaths).
    The obscurity (using an online handle or some persistent online persona) versus anonymity aspect is interesting. Those with online accounts, where posts are all associated with each other, may engage in arguments or debates to build up some kind of ego (in the sense of the unique "I"); think people who want to impress, vent to, or attack their friends and acquaintances or fellow forum users. But the more anonymous the user is (without persistent posts, for example), the more "volatile" their posts are, since it cannot build up any kind of reputation, and they cannot prove anything about themselves (no ethos is involved here). The positive is that each post is judged by its own merit. Of course, the negative is that "flaming" is pure aggression without regards to social consequences or rewards, and no feelings of empathy need get in the way.

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  16. In my opinion, I feel like those people who flame and saying terrible things to other people are so empty inside, and lack of confidence. They don't have the guts to talk those kind of things in front of real people, so instead of that they just look at the screens and type to fulfill their "self-esteem". And flaming someone on the internet isn't just a impolite thing to do, but it could also be an illegal thing if people are insulted. In my country Taiwan, some people are sued by others because they insulted them on the internet. So people must watch out what they say on the internet all the time.

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  17. A fast-paced rise of the internet and its younger brother social-media has become a growing place for millions of users to show their online presence. This online presence may at times be fruitful, leading to open discussions and critical thinking; on the other hand it can also become an outlet of anger and outburst of biased opinions. Generally, internet users can be quite ill mannered and vulgar in their responses to articles, sometimes in the form of opinions, on the internet. Moreover, as internet and social media users can have multiple accounts or have the privilege to be anonymous users, they may not feel the need to filter what they say. Consequently this leads to insults and rambles that go all over the internet, and due to the passionate rage usually involved, resumes with no beneficial discussion. Due to the manner in which most opinions are presented, internet users who read the anonymously posted opinions, do not get persuaded to change their mind; instead, they are immediately opposed and have a stronger stance in their own opinion. Where it might be deemed rather strange, a person's true personality is shown when there is a mask; something that can be true when they post replies and comments online. Of course, as an internet user myself, it is our responsibility not to feel evoked by the sometimes vulgar and barbaric attitude of some online users; instead, it might be better to ignore those opinions that differ from our own.

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