I’ve been watching the TV series HEROES. The show is about people but with special abilities – flight, invisibility, ability to predict the future, melting solid objects, instant healing from any injury, and many more – who live among the normal population.
During one of the episodes. Claire Bennet, a high school cheerleader who can instantly heal from any injury, loses her ability to feel pain. Pain was one of the few things that made Claire feel human.
After I watched that episode, I started thinking about my own experiences – offline and online – and about the many ways in which many of us are just a little less human when we’re online. Part of the problem lies in the medium – we can’t usually see the people we’re talking to online, and that makes our conversations a bit more detached and impersonal. We send @ messages on Twitter, post updates on Facebook, send emails and direct messages, and think of those activities as conversations. And they are indeed conversations – through these conversations, we learn, share, teach, laugh, discuss, debate, etc.
But as we continue to become a society that spends increasing amounts of time looking at a computer, are we losing a bit of emotion with each conversation? In the quest for popularity and followers and/or friends, are we losing perspective? Are we more likely to forget when we’re online that harsh words and criticism can hurt others? And we quicker to judge others when we have the cloak of invisibility surrounding our online activities? And is this trend impacting our offline relationships too?
What do you think?
Image credit: 파파곰