We’ve all seen and taken part on endless discussions around how we are what we post, therefore we should be more mindful and responsible. The pressure to entertain, the social anxiety and the need to contribute with immediate, yet brilliant ideas are all underlying aspects that make us go to places we’d never explore in more concrete situations, from one paragraph essays on the whole history of a nation’s economic activity to a casual, creative diary entry just in case your flings and distant friends are bored and interested to hear. Without a diverse environment, the world wouldn’t look the same: can you imagine an internet deprived of comment sections, memes and stuff to look at when you’re alone? But it’s important to remember they represent something that exists on and off the web. The problem isn’t the purpose, but the transit of expectations in every circle we’re included in, consciously or not. In other words, I don’t need to explain why I shared or liked something, but I might. What’s the most convenient, socially acceptable form of interaction: listening quietly, replying with a different proposition or simply ignoring the entirety of what we’re consuming?
The truth is that it’s always been that way, regardless of how we see communication and the form it presents itself. Ever since we were little, we’ve been taught to listen to the elderly, or to ask for things with an understanding of what’s possible to do and what’s not; at school, to develop a sense of how to stand for what we believe in, according to what we know and what we can demonstrate; in a professional environment, we have a clear set of principles and norms to follow, noting that real progress means to be able to discuss issues with an open mind to consider every perspective and what’s a point you should prioritize for the common benefit. But where’s the fun part, where we experiment with language, take things out of their context, make jokes and act irresponsibly just for a small moment? It’s not a case of selfishness, unless it really is; but we’re supposed to present ourselves as we really are, and use our creativity to bring to the world a more genuine account of what we think, how we feel and what other people need to know – which is where most people draw the line.
We’ve found new forms of communication. Video is on demand, anyone can create images and edit them with text, and language has become a lot more groundbreaking with subcategories of topics and styles. But everyone needs to remember that the web is just a representation, not the actual thing. People are still judged by the way they dress or who they’re dating, why would it be any different with my clicks and watch history? You could argue with a list of privacy reports and statements, from activists to life advice gurus, but there’s no question that the repercussion of what we choose to say is getting more difficult to track – and we should at least be aware of it. What we can do is to be consistent in what we bring to discussions, and this can be done in several ways, most of which have to do with how much we express opinions and learn, with time and feedback from both strangers and close people, how to get the most out of a topic of interest. If your time is spent cursing on Twitter, there’s a chance you’ll hear something back eventually – and we all need to think things through and be a little bit more classy, without a necessary shift to cynicism.