A recent article from USA Today discusses how the “informality of the Internet age” is contributing to incivility in our modern society. As many of you may know, there have been several “in-civil” acts that have made mass media as of late. First off the Republican Republican Representative of South Carolina, Joe Wilson, blatantly called Obama a liar at his address to congress. Then there was the issue of Serena Williams physically threatening a line judge at the U.S. Open semifinal. Lastly, we have Kanye West’s brutal interruption of Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech. Kanye ran on stage just as Taylor Swift was making her acceptance speech and interrupted her by saying that Beyonce should have won.
The USA today article explains that this recent incivility is thought by many to be due to the “informality of the Internet age” with which we live. P.M. Forni, author of The Incivility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, told USA Today “American society is among the most informal in the world, and often that informality crosses over into incivility. Now, you can add the informality of the Internet to this culture, and all bets are off. It’s an age of total disclosure and total expression, with very little concern for the feelings of others.” Jerry Bowles, co-founder of SocialMediaToday.com, also added “The ability to comment about others from a distance and with anonymity is the Web’s hallmark and its poison.”
I think most of us can agree with these claims, but as the article states, these issues individually would have been much less exposed by the media if they hadn’t all occurred within such a short period of time. I think that this article brings up an interesting point, that we all need to realize when it is appropriate to use certain language, behavior and etiquette. As for Kanye’s disruption, I’d like to think that his arrogance is definitely more to blame than “the Internet age”. Kanye ended up apologizing to Swift in his blog admitting what he did was wrong. However, he also included the cocky and childish statement in the blog “I’m just real.” Shortly after this article Kanye also gave Taylor a personal apology over the phone. Maybe he realized that he was losing a lot of credibility for his childish behavior.
What do you think? Is the Internet age primarily to blame for incivilities in our society? Or are individuals to blame for their lack of etiquette?