The digital age is a force multiplier. The interactions we have with the world through the internet acts as leverage. It creates both positive and negative outcomes.
The digital age is a time where quick and impulsive judgements are made at a massive scale. A single viral post online can be seen by hundreds of thousands of people in the span of a day.
First impressions are so important and have never been more relevant to a persons “success”. Posting online can have a wide variance of survival half lives. If you share something meaningful to many, it will be found again and again over time. Create something not immediately valued and it will gather dust in a corner of the internet. How we present our content for first impressions makes or breaks its half life. Like first dates or job interviews, you have mere seconds to make the impression you want.
The digital age is a time characterized by mob rule at massive scales. The judgements made by our digital communities are more relevant than ever before. If your post falls on the wrong side of digital public opinion, you cannot simply move to another community that hasn’t heard of you. Your posts live on the internet forever, they are indexed and searchable. Mob rule can be a blessing when it rules in your favor but it’s often a curse when it comes against you.
The judgement and mob rule of the internet makes digital age a fear multiplier. Although it provides such wonderful access to socio-economic mobility it also leaves our minds warped by the prolonged and hyper intensive anxiety of judgement. Will I be good enough to survive the worlds judgements?
The internet is a luxury because according to the UN nearly half the world still does not have access to. Yet as much as it is a luxury to access the compendium of worlds knowledge and network with other parts of the developed world, it also has 2nd and 3rd order consequences.
What does prolonged exposure to judgements by massive groups of people do to the human psyche? It is arguably one of the root and foundational causes of the rise in mental illness that is common in younger generations. Exposure to near constant and public judgements that are often viscous attacks when shielded by identity hiding avatars.
The internet has also made it easier to form communities of otherwise disparate people. You can find nearly anyone that believes in similar topics if you search for them. This is truly wonderful as it creates a cure for loneliness in small physical communities. But the deeper consequences have led to a schism in traditional political ideologies, schooling and general amicability of public discourse. Instead of several large communities of thought there are now nearly infinite numbers of communities that differ in their approaches to life. These differences are sometimes irreconcilable and prevent our ability to compromise on building solutions to common issues.
As the digital age advances and our lives become increasingly more digital, its important to think through the consequences of our actions. What will the 2nd and 3rd order consequences of our interactions be?