Social media platforms have taken the tearing apart of one person by another – cannibalism, basically – to a whole new level. Just 10 years ago, we were worried about the hate and division sown on social media, and the systematic character assassinations. Little did we know. Today, no one can survive the relentless mill of social media, dead or alive, innocent or guilty. It is a crusher, without ideology or scruple. Those who fed it in previous years are now starting to feel its power as extreme voices from every side take the upper hand. They shout more and loudest when necessary; they curse and insult without mercy. Any reasonable person feels a mixture of awe and disgust at the spectacle of what is a modern-day coliseum. Some withdraw to safety and just watch what is going on. Others are carried away by the prevailing trend, adopting its crazy theories and opinions.
What makes the greatest impression is the anger. Even otherwise composed people express their opinions in anger, no matter what the issue may be. It is obviously easier to insult someone from the other side of a screen than from the other side of a table. The old-style way of arguing in a café may have gotten violent every once in a while, but there was an understanding that didn’t allow the situation to get completely out of hand.
We wonder why the entire Democratic Party could not come up with a more dynamic, younger candidate to take on US President Donald Trump in the upcoming elections. Running for president of America is a challenging task that requires an incredible amount of stamina and every candidate is required to stand “naked” on the international scene, in the spotlight. This year, though, is different. Social media have created conditions of extreme polarization and unfettered hate. Any normal person considering going up against Trump – whose vulgarity and aggression have no limits – would obviously discuss the possibility with their families and decide that it’s better to stay out of it.
The counterargument is that we cannot blame technology. Optimists believe that we are simply going through a very bad cycle right now and the situation will eventually correct itself. But what kind of cycle is this, and at what cost? The damage being done to social cohesion is enormous.
But to bring the issue home, a simple tour of the world of social media will show you that we may be done with Golden Dawn as far as the law and the institutions are concerned, but hard-right views and opinions are anything but gone from the public dialogue.