1. Explore the human condition
Social media, although at times forces users to trawl through banal updates about every day life, there is a lot of dialogue which highlights how people feel. Perhaps these are people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet in your day-to-day life, yet they share their stories on an open platform. Their stories sit there waiting to be read, to gain some attention and maybe, just maybe, be understood. With this, we can learn how someone on the other side of the world is feeling, and add this as a reminder that we understand, if only a little, the lives of others.
We’ve all undoubtedly got a range of odd usernames. The weirdest one I have is “bozzeyed”. I don’t really know what that means, but with my moniker, I feel a little more at ease when wanting to express my opinions online. Of course, we’ve all come across trolls, or other people/bots who are purely inflammatory, but, nestled among the hateful comments, are people who are trying to voice things that may not necessarily be able to voice outside of their moniker. Perhaps John feels more comfortable to discuss his problems while being “J123” to save face. The point is, anonymity creates empathy because it allows some people to say things, and for others to engage in conversations that perhaps they could just yet do as themselves in our non-digitised world.
3. Varied Information
While we may not always read super serious content on the internet (cough, cat gifs, cough), we have, readily available to us a wealth of information. From blogs to independent publications, we have the possibility to find and read a story about immigrant life, or a peruse a photo-essay about addiction. I once stumbled across a blog about the times of apartheid in South Africa. Where else was I ever going to read a personal diary about that? We have all this content readily available to us all from the comfort of a device that has internet. The world is full of stories and we have the ability to read them all. Pretty good.
4. Changes Perspective
The age we live, in all its digitised luminous screened glory, has been described as the age of narcissism. Perhaps. The selfie explosion has let people employ a need for constant gratuitous praise (you look great, bae! etc) but, another way to think about is that there are so many people out there who genuinely just crave attention. Yes, there are people out there who just overdo it, and definitely display signs of narcissism, but that’s a bit of a generalisation. Some people genuinely post their photos or rant online because they just want to be heard or seen. The point is, try to at least weed through the attention seekers, and the people who just want their existence acknowledged in this crazy world.