Social media is void of opportunity for integrity and full of depravity, training our virtues in the wrong direction.
The proliferation of twitter-wars and online harassment have left us unaccountable. The most platforms will do to reprimand users is shut down their (typically anonymous) accounts- hardly a slap on the wrist.
Interacting in perceived isolation, an internet user will callously or consciously act. What dictates a person’s actions when they live in a digital-forrest disguised as a physical echo chamber?
Prolific conservationist and author, Aldo Leopold writes of the solitary sport of hunting in the same light:
Whatever the hunter’s acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers…A Sand County Almanac
Voluntary adherence to an ethical code elevates the self-respect of the sportsmen, but it should not be forgotten that voluntary disregard of the code degenerate and depraves him.
What if there was accountability in our networks for slander and cruelty? Could we remake social media like a true society with checks and balances?
What if we could have a mental health department devoted to checking public digital spaces to identify users at risk before the damaging effects of social media go to far?
We are behind the curve. The UK holds an appointed office for a political Minister of Loneliness devoted to bringing cross-community services together around those experiencing isolation (created pre-COVID; now especially vital).
Before this, we still must ask how we are training ethics through digital platforms. We’re setting users up for profound failure or neutral complacency about the existence of these choices.
Such deer-hunting is not only without social value, but constitutes actual training for ethical depravity elsewhere.
What did you notice today? ///