THE DIGITAL COLD SHOULDER
By Trevor Montalto
In a world and society of people connected globally, why is it we feel so entitled to publicly shame a person? On what grounds do we have the right to share a private message with the public?
This sort of behaviour becomes very dangerous in a world of interconnectivity. When we see the world in a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ way, then people begin to feel entitled to judge another based on only half of the story. There is no question as to if the person may be innocent. It sets the victim up for public ridicule, possibly endangering them to bodily harm or psychological harm, affecting their work performance or personal life. People fail to even talk through a difference. We are also pre-programmed to believe the worst in people that we don’t even begin to question if the person being shamed actually deserves it.
This world seems to promote the public ridicule and judgement of a person based on one side of a story. But as with dice, a story can have multiple sides. People need to learn we are not judge and jury, and we cannot continue to put judgement on a person without knowing the full details. In a court of law, 110% proof is required to convict someone. This means there can be no reasonable doubt that the person is guilty. Yet even with this standard, mistakes happen. Why? Simple, we are all human and as humans we make mistakes.
If, as a community, we realise that mistakes happen and we can’t all be perfect 100% of the time, maybe we could get along better? Conversation on the internet has no rules – different than face to face conversation -so why do we think it does? It is still a conversation between two people. If a person has to wait an hour for a response they would either leave or get annoyed, why is it then that when a person requests a reply on the internet after waiting an hour, that person is considered a harasser? No one, except maybe a doctor or soldier is so busy that they can’t send a one word reply. All that needs to be sent is ‘busy’ and many will leave the person alone until they are no longer busy. If this is so easy to do face to face, why is it so hard to do online?
We are all connected all the time. We share data as a collective; as such this sends me a sad message about our culture. Are we so self-conceited that our responses to people online must be any different to our responses to a person in a face to face setting? The rules of conversation do not change, just because the medium changes. We all have the need to be heard, we all want to be acknowledged. We are a herding creature, we seek comfort from others responses.
In public, ignoring someone would be considered bullying, it is no different online.