This is Mary
Mary is awesome. When you hang out with her you feel smart, witty, brave, raw and feisty. You want to tell her everything. You want to let her know when things make you happy, sad and annoyed. When you’re outraged you rush to Mary and yell at her. Mary’s like your bestest friend, but she’s not really real, she has no emotions. She is Twitter.
A lot of people spend a lot of time yelling at Mary. She doesn’t give a shit because she’s a modern communication platform. And we all know they don’t have feelings. People love her so much they think like they can say and do anything to her. They are free to voice their opinion from anywhere in the world. It is a truly wonderful place to share, discuss and promote ideas. It is also easy to get caught up in shouting.
One person can get upset about something, suddenly there’s two people agreeing and then more and more and more and more. The further down the line, the less people know what the original grievance was. They see the other names in the thread and because they’re mates they trust them. They forget to check the source. It’s easily done, Mary is so quick to move on, you don’t want to be left out.
Suddenly there’s groups of people yelling at Mary. The “fors” yell in one of her ears, the “againsts” in the other. She holds the person they are arguing over tightly in her grip so they can’t get away. Mary seems to encourage pack mentality.
The problem is, not with the disagreement over views, it’s the speed at which groups form, the force of the attacks. It goes from a serious discussion to extreme nastiness in moments. The topic at hand is often pushed away in favour of personal diatribe. Smart, and not so smart, people get lost in the noise.
There’s something about Mary which turns intelligent people into assholes.
This is forcing people to turn their backs on Mary. Voices of difference are choosing to stop the dialogue. It’s turning Mary into a one-sided argument. The whole point of her is being eroded. The freedom and ability for all people to express their views, share their truth and educate others is being soured. Sometimes it’s best to ignore Mary and instead send a message directly to the person you are angry with and sort it out. Or bitch to your mate behind Mary’s back. Use Mary to get your message across. Mary is such an important platform for all, maybe it’s time to reassess how you interact with her. Ask yourself would you react the same way if the person you were at odds with was standing in a room with you? Would you do this?
Worse still. Would you be as quick to do this in person, if you were standing with a group and they were not? Would you feel comfortable? Would you spend more time checking your facts before jumping in to the fray? Would you behave like this to someone if you could see their eyes? Would you be so personal in your attack?
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
We want as many different voices to be heard, even the ones we dislike. Disagree intelligently. Use your smarts to inform and change views which anger you. Mary is a free platform for all to engage equally. Freedom of speech at its best. If we don’t use her wisely soon you will find her null and void. An echo of her former self.
It’s up to us not to fuck it up.