There’s a attitude that has been making it’s way through the blogging community that sort of goes something like this, “Don’t piss me off because I’m a blogger and I’ll let the whole world know just how awful you are if you do.” What seemingly started out as a way to inform others about companies who may or may not be on the up and up or to find out if others have had similar experiences with a company has become a daily exercise in the “airing of the grievances”. And it’s not just about restaurants, retailers, hospitals, car dealerships, websites and the like anymore, these kinds of posts are also targeting individuals.
As bloggers, we have embraced a false sense of power and security. I have to wonder just how many of us would actually say to anyone’s face what we dare say from behind our computer screens. Insults and meaness flow from our fingertips and across the web. It’s the grown-up’s version of slam books and note passing that was prevelent in junior high and high school. I have witnessed extreme pettiness and ugliness on the Internet in the name being vigilant and transparent.
What has happened to us? Part of me thinks that the jerks on the Internet are also jerks in real life, I mean, how could they not be right? But another part of me wonders if the jerks, at least some of them, are just caught up in the culture of indignation that has spread like wild fire across the Internet. The barista at Starbucks gets your order wrong? Shout it from the rooftops of Twitter! Bad customer service from a local company? Drag their name through the mud on your blog! Get your feelings hurt or have a disagreement with another blogger? Sick all your online friends on them to show just how “powerful” you are!
People are not perfect. Company’s make mistakes. Sometimes they make big mistakes, sometimes someone just has a bad day. Do we really need to point it out every time it happens? And what about the times we dogpile on individuals and spew forth all sorts of vitriol just because we don’t agree on how they do things? How are we helping anyone by doing that? When will we realize just how badly it reflects on us when all we do is complain about how awful everyone else is?
I realize there is some irony in this post I write. I am, essentially, participating in this culture of indignation by criticizing it in this way. Yes, I’m making veiled references to recent and not so recent examples of this behavior. Do I get some absolution because I won’t link to it, maybe, maybe not. Life is not always sunshine and roses and bliss. I know that as well as anyone. I like to adhere to a practice of leaving things better than I found them, not a wake of destruction and loathing. But that’s just me.