Recently I observed an argument on Twitter happening between two of the people I follow. What struck me about it was not the content of their disagreement, but that it is rare to see public arguments on Twitter.
Sure from time to time you see examples of a fleeting spat. And there are loads of gibes and digs going on all the time. But on the whole we are a sociable bunch who get along even though there are many here with strong opinions (you know who you are).
The people you choose to follow and engage with are likely to have similar interests, opinions and values as you. If you discover that this isn’t actually true then you probably will unfollow them. If they really get your goat, you might even block them. And you may instead choose to follow others who engage with the people you follow. Before you know it you are in the midst of a circle of people who all chat to each other, share common interests, and run off into the sunset and get married. (Well that last bit doesn’t happen very often but it does happen!).
Those people who hold strong views that aren’t the same as yours just fade into the background, never to be seen again.
Are we lulling ourselves into a false sense of warm fluffiness where we happily use Twitter to chat to our pals and block out anything bad and wrong? Or is it an insular view of the world where you aren’t forced to endure the boyfriend of your BFF – just because you have to – and instead can just cull out all those not like you with one click so they are out-of-sight-out-of-mind?
In real life, you don’t get much say over who your family, workmates or neighbours are, so you are forced to learn how to deal with those people you don’t see eye to eye with. However online, you just unfollow, block, ignore and they can’t do much about it – thats if they even know that its happening.
Is it an easy way out, or just an advanced evolution of natural selection?