How do you guys feel about the culture of the Internet these days? I came across two articles on Internet niceness this morning, and in light of my recent Open Letter To Anonymous, they both got me thinking.
In his piece for New York magazine, Nathan Heller wonders when the Internet got so nice, using words like cozy, friendly and warmth to describe life on the Web in 2012. He writes...
"For those of us who learned to love the web best as a hostile, predatory, somewhat haunted place, this kindness is startling—but not as startling as it might once have been. These days, life online has become friendly, well mannered, over-sweet. Everyone is on his or her very best behavior—and if they’re not, they tend to be quickly iced out of the conversation. The sweet camaraderie that flourished during Sandy isn’t just for terror and crisis anymore; it has become the way the Internet lives now ... We are endlessly flattering one another, too—sharing everything we do with everyone we know, and reflexively praising every biographical detail that comes over the transom to us. There is always sunshine to be found on the web, and usually we find it"
But writer Katie Baker presents quite a different portrait in her Jezebel article, arguing that this niceness doesn't extend to women and when it comes to comparing the sexes, things are still very unequal. One paragraph that stuck out to me...
"If you're a woman with an Internet presence, you need skin as thick as a redwood trunk to deal with the barrage of insults and threats that you'll unquestionably receive from misogynist trolls who want you to stop writing about topics that men also like to write about, or stop writing about feminism, or just stop writing, period. This has always been the case, but it's not getting better for most women I know. In fact, it seems to be getting worse."
My verdict: I can't help but agree with Baker. It seems as though women are under that metaphorical microscope so much more than men these days. What women write, do, say, don't say -- it's all ripe for criticism, and with the nature of the Web, usually, this criticism is instant.
Have you seen a change in the culture of the Internet? Do you think people are nicer now than they were, say, 10 years ago? Nastier? The same? Do you think the men vs. women debate is a valid one? I'd love to hear your thoughts! xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]