Every second of every minute of every day, someone some where is getting fooled into reading something they either don’t want to read or having an emotional reaction they didn’t count on. Why? Because inducing rage to encourage web activity is an intentional tactic.
Let me word this another way, because it’s very, very important.
On the web, people will continue to be bullies because they are rewarded for being a jerk.
It’s not the quality of the comments many website owners care about, it’s the volume. This has nothing to do with having an honest opinion, this is a marketing tactic loosely inspired by one to boost visibility.
Having said that, I continue to see well-known people, friends, associates, etc. get suckered into this every. darn. day. It’s a site that is geared toward college students. It’s a jealous person-of-note making their opinion known. It’s a fan who doesn’t like this other thing over here. It’s commentary on someone else’s work, genre, or hobby. It’s a politician, or a pundit, or whomever…
And it frightens me, because what we’re doing, is allowing a culture of bullies to flourish and they’re also taking that enhanced behavior offline. We’re saying this sort of thing is okay, because we’re focusing on what they’re saying and not why they’re doing it. It’s not just about the words, anymore. It’s gone well beyond that. It’s about supporting the unrealistic mantra that: “Hey, guess the only way I can get what I want is to either work my ass off or be an asshole. Since it’s easier to be a jerk than to provide something of value, I guess I’ll do that.” And it works, because people are getting more and more desperate to stand out and be somebody. Ever wonder why you get smacked with the Curse of Well, ACTUALLY? Same sort of thing. People want and need validation and, in a world where money is a real reward for crappy behavior, this is one very real way to get it.
This is, what I call, the Invisible Man Technique because the internet is often thought of as a buffer to real life consequences because you can’t see the person on the other end of the line. (That isn’t always the case, however.) Some people participate online by doing this intentionally. Lately, though, I’m seeing others who normally aren’t mean, take up the Invisible Man technique because they’re also finding that it works.
No wonder this type of behavior is bringing out the darker side of human society. Did racism already exist? Yes. Sexism? Yes. Gender bias? Yes. We’re being bullied into allowing outdated paradigms to surge because there is a financial reward for doing it. Sometimes, we become the bullies ourselves, by having ridiculous and negative commentary about the bullies, or by fabricating a conspiracy when there isn’t one, just to get attention.
Will this marketing tactic last forever?
Yes and no. The internet will split into multiple internets some day. The law is starting to catch up, too. Eventually, communities will be fractured even further and return to their little silos. The faster we communicate with one another, the more “white noise” we see and hear, which is akin to having no communication. New technology will eventually isolate us from one another, even moreso than it is now, because there’s too much communication to parse out in our fields of vision.
As a marketer and analyst, I know what the tricks and business concerns are, believe me. But, this is my choice: I will not, and cannot, actively induce negativity for the sake of my future success. This will make it harder on myself I know, but I just can’t knowingly be a bully or be bothered to comment on them. If that means that I have to work twice, thrice, or four times as hard as everyone else — then so be it. Luckily, I work with other people who feel the exact same way I do.
- Mood: Eyebrow is raised!
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Um… *looks away*
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Housework and a walk
Yesterday’s Projects: The Day JobTM
In My Ears: Llove by Kaskade – Fire and Ice
Game Last Played: Battle Nations (I HAZ A BATTLE RAPTOR ZOMG!)
Movie Last Viewed: Ella Enchanted
Book Last Read: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebooks
Latest Artistic Project: Cross-stitch
Latest Release: Redwing’s Gambit for Bulldogs! the RPG