“This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lately I hear a lot of people talking about how our society seems to be growing increasingly more hateful. There are those who even go so far as to believe this increase in hatred is ultimately a sign that we are nearing the end of the world.
I’m inclined to believe that the increase of hate in society is the direct result of our increasing non-personal relationships manifested through social media. How we treat each other on social media has a direct affect on how we treat each other in “the real world.”
I remember when social media was about connecting with friends, not tearing them down. I remember when people posted photos of joyful life moments, not memes degrading others. I remember when your religion and political preferences didn’t matter, the most heated question on Facebook was, “Pepsi or Coca-Cola?”
Social media provides both an outlet and a safety barrier. We are more comfortable to offer opinions, especially hateful ones, because there isn’t always a perception of “in-person” accountability. It’s become far too easy to tear a person down. Eventually, online hate result in an increase in suicide, depression, and violent crimes.
To solve the problems of our society, some say we need increased gun control while others say increased mental health care is the answer. Both are merely topical treatments that relieve the symptoms. The cause of our problems, the disease that is destroying society is our lack of love and respect for one another.
How we treat each other in the virtual world directly influences how we treat each other in the real world. Like everything else, it’s not the medium that’s the problem, it’s how you choose to use it. Will your Facebook profile be an instrument of love, peace, and understanding or a weapon of hatred, insecurity, and discontent?
The world isn’t coming to an end. These dark days are the result of our own behavior. If we don’t learn to love and respect one another, our time on earth will be a long, miserable experience.