A Comment Section, Our Acquired Tormentor
You can’t eat your cake and have it too.
We bought into the fantasy that being social on a wider more flamboyant scale would make us even more keen on practicing how to be respectfully relational.
Or perhaps we knew things were going to get chaotically insane but we just didn’t care.
Progress demands an open mind and the acute tolerance of accepting that change is inevitable.
We have to evolve whether we like or not.
When I was recently greeted by my mother’s response after she received the ping confirming that I had officially joined WhatsApp — that’s the moment I realized that anything is possible.
Social media for me has been an experimental journey into the deep crevices of human behavior.
On one hand, it’s refreshing to be assured that we are all fundamentally similar in our general pursuits.
But the stark differences in the way we view or respond to certain things can be a bit daunting when you concede that the people you thought you knew — are really not as simple or complex as they seemed.
They may confide in you about their current challenges and then later on that evening drop a post on Facebook that encourages high fives from friends and followers but leaves you confused and almost resentful.
Is life fucking you over or not? And if so — how do you even have the capacity to remember to keep your feed updated with information so starkly removed from the truth.
Well, these are the times we live in.
We have the power to alter our reality by clicking and entering the words that dictate our preferred disposition.
We also have the ability to tear down anyone who dares to interrupt a bad day by expressing an opinion that vetoes our personal investments.
I recently read a piece by the senior editor at Ebony magazine — Jamilah Lemieux where she described the nightmare she’s had to endure due to the trolls that work overtime to reduce her to a puddle of weariness.
Yes, it’s awful to be stalked and harassed by racists, sexists and fascists pigs who gain unrelenting pleasure from publicly bating those who are clearly out of their league.
According to Ms. Lemieux — the proper thing to do would be to remove the comment section altogether in order to put an end to this reign of terror once and for all.
It sounds perfectly reasonable and potentially effective but obviously unrealistic.
The moment we crafted our individual pages on the platform of our choice — we gave up the right to question the open format that was eventually going to adopt the climate of a rowdy and over crowded marketplace.
We basically signed up with the sparse understanding that we could be randomly picked on and bullied without constraint.
Sure — there are rules against extreme behavior but for the most part we all know that insults don’t have to contain a slew of curse words in order to sting.
There are ways to get your point across that can leave the recipient on the verge of an unprecedented breakdown.
It’s not right but it is a big chunk of what being social presently entails.
The incentive was built around the lure of being heard and validated by a larger audience.
Everybody is playing to win and for once the rules are the same regardless of race, creed or social status.
You can call Donald Trump a pompous ass while lying in bed in the studio apartment you share with two roommates and he will read it and tweet back.
The power afforded the once powerless who had to rely on drunken convos with like-minded folks for relief can’t be underscored.
When you release the beast from captivity— the only thing to do is to brace yourself and pray that the attacks are swift and not life threatening.
Most of the time — despite the deep wounds — we are able to recover quite well.
But, overtime the scars do take longer to heal and there is the need to escape it all before we reach the point of stalled endurance.
We can expect to reach this level of steamed frustration but we can’t suddenly request to revert back to a time when we were forced to treat each other with an acceptable dose of decency.
A time when instituted decorum was a requirement and not viewed as weakness or a cop out.
A time when being social meant so much more than the sum of likes, reactions, retweets and reposts.
The thing is — you’re already a disciple of the cult if you’ve been propelled into the circle of social media royalty based on the sheer number of followers you’ve garnered.
This impressive feat means you’re a vital piece of the over-populated and frightfully polluted landscape.
It also encourages career trolls to assume that you are somewhat capable of weathering the avalanche of inconsistencies and consequences that come with such privileges.
You can’t avoid the people who built you up because the bad ones are shouting the loudest.
They believe they deserve to be heard if you are able to benefit from the numbers on your page that automatically calculate your increasing net value.
Once numerals are assigned to evaluate your worth as an employee, friend or family member — there is really no hope left for mankind.
The comment section is the most authentically inclined playground that showcases the the bad, the ugly and the creepy.
In a world wrecked with self-indulgence layered with blatant vanity and snobbery based on numerical hierarchies — it is inevitable that nasty vile comments from bored disillusioned citizens would be the default accompaniment.
And unfortunately even if you are woefully failing at the numbers game — you still are liable to be pummeled by aggressive insults just by wading in the pool of shared opinions.
It is a sad and unrighteous rite of passage.
It is also the AutoSum of all our parts minus the fractions that make us human.