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It’s Time We Take Back The Internet.

January 28th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was reminded again this week that the Internet can be a truly vile and hateful place.  In fact, if there’s some Internet scale of justice, I’m fairly certain it’s tipping in the direction of hate.

Now, I’m no stranger to the barrage of hateful comments on social media sites.  You see it’s easy for people to hide behind a screen and hurl hateful remarks into the Webosphere.  It’s also fairly easy for people to get caught up in a mob mentality.  Even seemingly peaceful people have been known to get caught up in the hysteria.  So, what got my feathers in a ruffle?

I began to search the web for videos of interfaith harmony for an upcoming blog post I intended to write.  I soon discovered that this was not an easy task in a virtual realm seemingly coated in the paranoid delusions and illogical rants of my fellow human beings.

You see, every search parameter I entered returned videos showing me something very different than a harmonious picture of people of different faiths coming together.  Instead, I was subjected to devilishly crafted videos clearly designed to spread hateful propaganda.

Now, it wasn’t just the videos that caused me such concern.  We all know there’s some heinous stuff out there.  No, I was much more concerned that those videos had millions of views.  Oh, and my interfaith harmony videos?  They rarely showed up in first page results and had significantly fewer views than those other videos.

Clearly, we have a problem, folks.  Somehow we’ve let hate dominate the Internet.  I simply refuse to believe that this is acceptable to the vast majority of Internet users.  After all, this is a tool that teaches our children, informs us of the world around us, and connects us to people we may never have met otherwise.  Do we really want to allow it to be shaped by hate?

A professor once told me that it’s pointless to respond to hate and fundamentalism online.  In theory, I agree with said professor.  The real problem isn’t responding directly to haters online, but rather that good, reasonable people tend to not say anything at all.  That’s certainly the impression I get when reading some comment threads.  For every positive statement, you can bet there are at least ten negative statements.

So is silence the best way to combat hate on the Internet?  I don’t think it is, but neither is spending one’s energy on trying to change the rigidity of hate that already has a firm grasp on a person.  Okay, so we don’t have to engage in dialogue with a hateful person, but what else can we do?  We can take the opportunity to share as many good news stories as possible; post videos that are inspiring and show people doing good works; and pictures that exude joy.  We can communicate positive feedback in comment threads, so that we gradually dilute all the hateful words.  With each page view and click of the mouse, we can consciously choose goodness and inspiration – instead of letting the haters choose for us.

Friends, it’s time we take back the Internet.

M. xo

Musical Interlude – Good People (Jack Johnson):

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