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Outraging over the outraged

  • anger is the emotion that spreads the most easily over social media. Joy came in a distant second.
  • although we tend to share the happiness only of people we are close to, we are willing to join in the rage of strangers
  • As the study suggests, outrage is lavishly rewarded on social media, whether through supportive comments, retweets or Facebook likes.
  • People who rant online in any way tend to get into more physical and verbal altercations.”
  • previous research on catharsis shows that people who vent end up being angrier down the road
  • outrage carries a different flavor from pure anger; it suggests an affront to one’s value system as opposed to seething, Hulk-like fury
  • The emotion plays well on social media because of its brevity and conviction, too. A 700-word Facebook post accounting for all sides of a contentious issue is unlikely to garner as many readers and endorsements as a one-sentence quip blaring heightened feelings.
  • One type of outrage is particularly appealing on social media: comedic anger. A bitingly clever takedown is sure to be circulated, though it is usually the same brand of hostility veiled in amusement. (hopefully my posts are along these lines rather than outright outrage)
  • we get upset only when our own privacy is compromised, not that of others
  • outraged comments are sometimes more offensive than the originating misconduct
  • Mobs breed a sense of anonymity
  • Though we are quick to condemn callousness and prejudice as a form of bullying, we less readily interrogate our own participation, even as bystanders, in the widespread attack of a single person, which is a classic example of bullying. We may justify our reaction as appropriate remediation for whatever crime has been perpetrated, but fighting fire with fire rarely elevates the discourse.
  • It is a noble endeavor to become incensed about a cause and risk arrest or toil without acclamation for one’s deeply held beliefs. Less honorable is joining a digital pile-on as a means of propping up one’s ego, even if it comes in the form of entertaining zings.
  • Perhaps the real problem, Professor Martin suggested, isn’t our rage but our rashness, and its relationship to our easily accessible devices.

    “The Internet exacerbates impulse-control problems,” he said. “You get mad, and you can tell the world about it in moments before you’ve had a chance to calm down and think things through.”

 


Filed under: Reading, Thoughts Tagged: Internet , mobs, NYTimes, outrage, social media

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More Stories By Aditya Banerjee

Aditya Banerjee is currently working as a Management Trainee in Cadbury India Ltd. He completed his Master of Management from the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay. He worked as an Application Developer in Kolkata for IBM India from August 2005 to July 2008. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2005 with a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering degree. He passed out from school in 2001, and also represented India in the International Chemistry Olympiad in the same year, winning a Silver Medal.

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