Ghosting, Blocking and Deplatforming is More Harmful Than You Think
Technology is enabling a ‘shoot first; ask questions later’ dynamic where deep relationships are cut off and destroyed over foolish miscommunication
I’m a lover, not a fighter, but geez, this digital warfare were engaging in by ghosting, blocking, and de-platforming anyone who hurts our feelings — even in the slightest — is distorting and may destroy the social fabric and our ability to get along as people of differing races, religions, and sexualities.
Instead, many of us indulge and engage in the emotional, reflexive, hate-inspired, impulse to “shoot first” and ask questions later — by creating digital worlds in our phones, tablets, laptops, watches, and soon-to-be eyeglasses, wearables, and ultimately brain implants.
At 56, I’ve lived most of my life the old-fashioned way, uncomputerized, without the ability for me, or somebody else, to block, ghost, or otherwise digitally murder me. And before you accuse me of being a melting snowflake, while it does not happen often, when I am blocked or ghosted, I find it surprisingly painful. Why? Because I’m used to a world where you get a second chance to plead your case before someone judges you. Quaint, right?
When we wake up, we turn on our phones, go on Instagram or Twitter, and read the comments. If someone says something terrible we block them. If we say something they perceive as terrible, they block us. And what we end up with is an isolated life through social media where you only associate with like-minded people. And are poorly equipped to handle a real-life situation requiring the ability to constructively, reasonably, and effectively communicate with someone who thinks and believes differently than you do.
I’m contending this dynamic is dangerous and is exacerbating, if not responsible for, a lot of our current societal and political chaos. And all types of acrimony, anger, isolation, and inability to see any perspective other than our own.
Let me give you an example, before the internet and social media and online dating, you might ask someone out on a date, and if it went well, you’d have another date. There might be a period of time — in the chaos and excitement — where you bicker, sort of break up, date again, then perhaps…