Twitter is a poor place

Ryujin

Legend
We are kind of talking about different uses of the expression. Not real refers to the platform, not the people on it (which is why I separated it out from the bot issue). I am not using it to say that the people online aren't real (otherwise I would not be concerned by the cruelty that happens on twiter). I am not talking about people who say it isn't real, so that means they can mistreat people online. I am talking about people who have been mistreated on line and get off because they realize it isn't real life, that people think and behave differently in online environments and it isn't conducive to empathy at the moment. That isn't real life, and that even many of the things people say there aren't even always what they really think (they are things people say to promote themselves, to play to what they think others want them to say, etc). Saying it is not a real place, is a way to help keep the voices on twitter out of your mind when they disruptive to your life or your way of thinking. I do give people the benefit of the doubt. I don't think we are seeing who people really are, I just think the worst part of them is being unleashed. I think a lot of people who see themselves as wonderful people are capable of more cruelty than they realize in the right circumstances. I have made a point of being as forgiving as I can towards the people who have been bad to me online, and hope they can eventually understand what they are doing is affecting real people. Twitter is a very negative place in my opinion and I think an easy way to rebuke that negativity is with a phrase like "it isn't even real" because in many ways it is not.
I would say that if you are being a good person just because of potential consequences, and that you'd behave badly if those perceived consequences are removed, then you really aren't a good person after all.
 

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I would say that if you are being a good person just because of potential consequences, and that you'd behave badly if those perceived consequences are removed, then you really aren't a good person after all.

I don't it is about the removal of consequences. I think it is about not having a real person directly in front of you and losing empathy towards them because the internet makes it easy to project whatever we want onto them. I think it is a very complicated thing. But I also think it is very easy to start labeling people as good or bad or whatever and then open the flood gates of your anger towards them, or be moved by a fear of crowds to join in the anger. Would flesh this out more but I only have a moment unfortunately
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
I don't it is about the removal of consequences. I think it is about not having a real person directly in front of you and losing empathy towards them because the internet makes it easy to project whatever we want onto them.
I think that's exactly right. I consider the Twitterverse equivalent to the phenomena of idle gossip and road rage both hopped up on some really strong crack cocaine.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Oscar Wilde said it best, over 100 years ago. Take away consequence and you'll see who someone really is.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he'll tell you the truth”

While poetic, Oscar Wilde wasn't a behaviorist. I don't think what he said applies to Twitter.

The whole idea of an "alpha wolf" was the result of watching non-domesticated animals in captivity, forced into unnatural social situations. The resulting behavior wasn't how wolves "really are" - it is how wolves are in an artificial situation they aren't set up to handle.

Twitter, and social media in general, is not a natural social situation for humans. It eliminates many or most of the social cues we primates use (and indeed depend on) for our normal socialization and interaction. The result is NOT "who we really are", any more than it was so for the wolves.

When you (generic you, not you, Ryujin, personally) go to a party at a friend's house, you naturally and unconsciously use the vocal tones, facial expressions, and body language of those around you to moderate your own behavior. When those cues are removed, what results isn't the "real you". It is more like you in a dysfunctional state.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I would say that if you are being a good person just because of potential consequences, and that you'd behave badly if those perceived consequences are removed, then you really aren't a good person after all.

So, here's evidence that we all see pretty much every day. EN World itself.

EN World is a place where we use fake names - we have masks - but we are not without consequences. If you misbehave, there's a bunch of stuff that may happen to you that you don't like, up to and including permanent banishment. And, when those consequences fall, many people are very upset by that. The consequences matter to them.

But people still behave badly, often even after warning that consequences may fall. So, clearly, conscious consideration of consequences isn't really the only thing that keeps the lid on people.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
But people still behave badly, often even after warning that consequences may fall. So, clearly, conscious consideration of consequences isn't really the only thing that keeps the lid on people.
And there's a bit more here on top of that, I think: along with everything of social cues from body language, physical position, etc., there's a quite immediate instinctive sense of the importance of the person in front of you when you're in person. When they're on screen even in high definition, they still feel separated from us and so become less of a priority. When they're right in front of us in person, though, there's a felt immediacy of their moral importance for our conduct. The ways people so willingly treat each other on social media do not even resemble the ways we'll interact when we're sitting together around a lunch table and someone asks us to pass the mayonnaise.

This is why I likened it to road rage: when we're not ensconced inside our motorized metal boxes, we would never treat other people like that. But in morning traffic we'll do it every day.
 

Ryujin

Legend
So, here's evidence that we all see pretty much every day. EN World itself.

EN World is a place where we use fake names - we have masks - but we are not without consequences. If you misbehave, there's a bunch of stuff that may happen to you that you don't like, up to and including permanent banishment. And, when those consequences fall, many people are very upset by that. The consequences matter to them.

But people still behave badly, often even after warning that consequences may fall. So, clearly, conscious consideration of consequences isn't really the only thing that keeps the lid on people.
But no one is going to feed you your teeth for what you say here, for example. And as we've all seen, even as recently as the past week, the consequences can be fleeting if you're willing to make another account.
 

But no one is going to feed you your teeth for what you say here, for example. And as we've all seen, even as recently as the past week, the consequences can be fleeting if you're willing to make another account.

I do think a major difference between online interactions and real life ones is there aren't immediate consequences because you aren't in the person's presence. That can mean you don't have to deal directly with their anger, but also you don't have to see the pain in their eyes from what you say (I think we've all seen someone say something biting to a person online they would never say to someone in front of them: and not because they are afraid of being hit because but because they wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of a person). Something about being online I think interferes with that.

One thing worth noting about getting teeth punched: even in real life, people can't just punch out other peoples teeth because they crossed a verbal line. The sometimes do, but I don't think that is the thing generally enforcing the social order. This is obviously going to vary by state and there is the whole 'fighting words' thing but just as a legal matter (at least in the US where I live) it isn't wise to punch someone unless you are doing it to physically defend yourself because you could end up getting charged with a crime. And punches can be dangerous too. I remember a young man who got killed when I was in middle school because he and his friends were throwing eggs at a car. The driver got out, punched him in the face, and drove off. But the guy ended up dying.
 
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Ryujin

Legend
I do think a major difference between online interactions and real life ones is there aren't immediate consequences because you aren't in the person's presence. That can mean you don't have to deal directly with their anger, but also you don't have to see the pain in their eyes from what you say (I think we've all seen someone say something biting to a person online they would never say to someone in front of them: and not because they are afraid of being hit because but because they wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of a person). Something about being online I think interferes with that.

One thing worth noting about getting teeth punched: even in real life, people can't just punch out other peoples teeth because they crossed a verbal line. The sometimes do, but I don't think that is the thing generally enforcing the social order. This is obviously going to vary by state and there is the whole 'fighting words' thing but just as a legal matter (at least in the US where I live) it isn't wise to punch someone unless you are doing it to physically defend yourself because you could end up getting charged with a crime. And punches can be dangerous too. I remember a young man who got killed when I was in middle school because he and his friends were throwing eggs at a car. The driver got out, punched him in the face, and drove off. But the guy ended up dying.
I went extreme, to make the point, but I stand by the basic premise.
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Like anywhere, it has to be curated, though I use twitter to communicate with friends, and family around the world. It works great for what it is, I don't have any complaints on that level.
 

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