I think Bex hit the nail on the head when she said that social media amplifies human nature. If you’re an insensitive, unloving fundamentalist offline, then you’re going to be a really insensitive, unloving fundamentalist online (as Vicky Beeching has recently discovered). But why?
As in many areas of life, a things greatest strength is often also its greatest weakness. Social media’s greatest strength is that it enables us to instantly connect with people over huge geographical distances. Its weakness however is that this distance can have a dehumanising effect. It’s easy to forget the impact our words have on a person when we’re just staring at a screen rather than sitting face-to-face with them.
Consequently, at its worst social media simply becomes media, a platform which we use to broadcast our opinions, rather than an opportunity to genuinely socialise.
So living well in a digital world must involve collapsing this psychological barrier and loving our online neighbour as we would our offline neighbour.