Looks Like Milgrim Was Right

Lately there seems to be some confusion about how the Internet works.  There's a massive thought pattern that has taken hold of Facebookers, bloggers and general douchebags everywhere.  That pattern of thinking aligns itself to basically regurgitating thoughts in typed form.

This is the problem.  People all to often thinking of posting to their blog, Twitter or Facebook without actually realizing that when you make something public, you are soliciting feedback whether you consciously want it or not.Here's the thing: it's social networking for a reason.  The social aspect means you socialize within your personal network.  When you take that step of posting something to your Facebook wall for example, you're socializing (or making public to those who are in your network), that particular thought.  When you ask a question (as another example), you're soliciting feedback in a very straightforward way.  You ask a question in the hopes that people will reply with their responses.

However, when people post a statement rather than a question, this is where things get a little hazy.  Even though you're not directly soliciting a response, you have to keep in mind that this is social networking you're on.  Everything is public to your friends, family, co-workers and who ever else you've approved to be in your circle of friends ("it's a circle, not a square...").  The thing to keep in mind is that this is an indirect way on the author's part of soliciting a response from their crowd without directly putting themselves out there.

But the thing to realize is that, people will reply with their thoughts and feelings on what you've shared, no matter how much you may like or dislike it.  That's what keeps society real and interesting.

Think about how boring it would be if we all got along?  We all liked each other?  Everyone just played nice?  We'd have a global orgy on our hands.

The fact of the matter is that, people in an closed environment with a certain degree of anonymity (you're not in the same room, for example), will take action (in a variety of ways) when deemed appropriate by a regulating force.  I call it Milgrim's second law of social dynamics.  Social media magnifies and, in turn, exacerbates the problem.  Once you replace the closed environment with a social setting and you replace the external regulating force with an internal regulating force (because, after all, that's what we are all taught from a very young age - to be independent thinkers), all Hell breaks loose.

What Stanley Milgrim set out to prove in one aspect actually proved more than his original intended theory - that there was a mutual morality involved with intent in society (that 'the other guy "made" me do it' or that "I was just following orders").  If you're not familiar with the Milgrim Experiment you might want to read up on the subject.  I dare say that if this experiment were repeated in today's society, the results would be flawlessly duplicated.

The thing with human beings being social creatures is all well and good until someone contributes a dissenting opinion on the subject at hand.

I've seen it time and time again with a Tweet send or a wall post made on Facebook.  Someone will post something and either consciously or unconsciously ask for a response.  The person gets upset because that's not the response they were looking for.  Something we need to realize is that regardless of the responses we may get, everyone isn't going to agree with us 100% of the time.  That's a probability that we as imperfect human beings just can't live up to.

So the next time you post something on your Facebook wall, Twitter timeline or your blog - think about this.  You may get responses and you may not like some of those responses.  The thing to realize is that it's not about the replier.  It's about you.  You opened the doors of criticism the moment you hit enter or clicked submit on the original thought.

If you really don't want the answer, don't ask the question.  Truth.