All Writings Psychology Society

Are there reliable ways of finding out the truth about a person on social networking? Part 2: conflicts

There are people who are peaceable.  There are people who avoid conflicts.  There are people who realize that it is not for one person to solve the problems of another.  Yes, help, hope, and a willingness to listen can be offered.  A kind word of encouragement is also possible to give.  However, it is rarely possible to offer deeply meaningful and lastingly beneficial advice to strangers, especially on very specific topics.  Yet, this happens on social networks quite frequently.  More important than what one says is how one behaves.  Behavior during times of conflict is especially meaningful, even if it goes undiscovered or unappreciated.


Social networking iconsIn the previous post regarding social networks, the idea was mentioned how knowing someone at a deep level is non-existent on social networks and knowing someone comprehensively is basically an endless pursuit.  Given this reality about human behavior, it is easy to see how exchanges on social networks can easily result in conflict.  Why?  For the reason, that ignorance plays a very crucial role in how the social networking world operates.  There is always a great degree of ignorance of the other person in such exchanges.  Impressions are formed very quickly, but those impressions are treated as judgments.  Where there is active judging of individuals -as is necessitated by such an environment – the starting and flaring up of conflicts is but natural.

Moving from ignorance to knowledge

It has been understood by many that the way to get another person to utter something sincere is by provoking him.  This is truly a perversion of human interaction.  Yet, it is quite common to see provocations made and employed quite frequently on social networks.  There is a very real deliberation.  Why can this be safely assumed?  It can be so assumed because, not only is there an existing mutual ignorance of each other, there is also the chance of easily conveying disrespect by use of harsh words and tone.  Harsh words and tone are fairly common on social networks.  The ones using such are definitely aware of the effect, but they no longer feel that it matters anymore.  In such exchanges, a flawed behavior is very easily revealed.  This further sets the belief, as is common the imagination of some, that people are basically concealing bad behavior for the purpose of creating and maintaining a certain image.

The depth of interaction will always be limited by the design of social networking platforms and the sheer volume of information.  A person can engage meaningfully and purposefully with only one or a few individuals in a private setting.  Social networks can never provide that.  They cannot be used for such a purpose.  Using social networks for deep engagement was never the original philosophy, and it is not the intent of most users on social networking sites.  Given this background, it is easy to see why conflicts arise.  Conflicts arise because there is a barrier or distance, and a feeling of not being accountable in terms of some actual penalty being enforced.  In the truest sense, it is a personal choice to recognize any such accountability and not become completely desensitized.

How knowledge can affect behavior

The recognition of the reality of another person is significant.  People hardly have trouble recognizing their own reality, for they sense their own needs and wants.  However, it is a difficult thing to sense the needs and wants of others.  The volume and speed of social networks work on instant reactions, not on deep consideration.  It has affected not only the self-realization of untold numbers of individuals, it has also affected the human ability to empathize.  Knowledge, as in knowing oneself and others at the level of humanity, has receded very far.  It should not have.  The end result is, people are more driven by convictions based on objectives rather than on the actual merit of their ideas.

What the evidence shows

Bubbles of convictions on social networks
Bubbles of convictions on social networks

In a recent Quartz article, the evidence was presented that people are not swayed from their political convictions in online exchanges.

But, regardless of how persuasive or amusing your tweets are, chances are they’re unlikely to be well-received by anyone who doesn’t agree with you already. A study of more than half a million tweets, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that morally outraged tweets tend to be widely retweeted within their political spheres—but rarely escape their bubbles. – Olivia Goldhill

There surely is a lesson in there, at least about one of the more favored mediums of political discussion – Twitter.  The brevity of Twitter is, of course, not conducive to a real discussion but is inviting for the maximum number of people to state their view on a matter.  There isn’t the possibility of real persuasion, as in actually winning someone over to a different idea – that takes time.  And if there are members of society that can be won over so easily as with a tweet, it is a worrying thing.  Perhaps they can be dissuaded just as easily.

For such reasons, it is safe to say that the world of online communications continues to be one of the imaginations.  People are sharing and responding to images of self, others, and of situations.  The reality has a chance to peek through in online conflicts – surely a deterioration of human communication – as those have the chance of countering any imagination, even if it is through unreasoned and violent ways.

Human beings are intelligent at an animalistic level, and it is clearly demonstrated on social networking tribal behaviors.  As animals are acutely aware of needs and desires and do not have moral considerations, so, many humans demonstrate a similar outlook as animals.  The unfortunate reality of social networking exchanges  – and, it also seems to be the requirement for online success – is to descend toward conflict.  These conflicts may be feigned or real, but they are an attempt to get to the truth of a person.  However, the truth one finds is always, the lower behavior of humans.  It for such reasons that I remind you once again of the starting words of this post: “There are people who are peaceable.  There are people who avoid conflicts.  There are people who realize that it is not for one person to solve the problems of another.  Yes, help, hope, and a willingness to listen can be offered.  A kind word of encouragement is also possible to give.”


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