Henry: Social media is making people angrier

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Collegian | Suka Vo

Brendan Henry, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Social media can be utilized as a tool to stay up to date with friends and family, but it can also be used to perpetuate one’s views on issues around the world. How often have we gone on social media only to find an opposing opinion that makes us upset or angry? There is an appeal to finding these posts and joining in on the argument. 

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The social media sphere holds the opinions of many of our friends and family, and in an era of political divisiveness and significant decision making, there are always differing opinions to be found. Conversations that would not be had in person are written out online under the shield of a profile picture. There is a particular thrill to being angry, and this anger is extremely easy to find on any social media platform. 

When Elon Musk purchased and took over Twitter, he made a slew of changes and comments that leaned heavily into the broad idea of freedom of speech — despite Twitter not being part of the government and therefore able to regulate speech online — and even took a partisan stance when he tweeted that people should vote Republican

These opinions are not limited to Musk’s hate on Twitter, as they are found on just about every social media platform out there. Those with right-wing opinions are not shy to attack those with left-wing ideologies and vice versa. Why not partake in a conflict online when it avoids in-person confrontation? 

The desire to be angry is taken out by way of the screen so no awkward face-to-face is needed. 

Should we care about what other people think? Should we care about the opinions of others and whether they align with our own? Is it not our choice to abstain from anger when reading someone else’s personal ideology? 

We are drawn to it like a dog sniffing out table scraps. We need that opposition to fuel our anger because humans are stubborn. That stubbornness turns to anger, and we feel we need to defend our own beliefs. 

“People enjoy being angry, and people’s beliefs only get furthered when shouting into the echo chamber. Someone can lash out at a different ideology and get a million voices shouting alongside them. Social media makes us angry, and we cannot stop eating it up.”

This phenomenon is not limited to a rude exchange of comments. There is a draw to watching physical conflict as well, such as the simple exchange of fists and faces to the more intense footage from the war in Ukraine. Even the biggest tragedies are drawing in a crowd simply because they want to be mad. 

Aggression used to be taken out on a physical battlefield, but now the more common battlefield is social media.

Wars are typically fought on social media, with multiple opinion holders joining forces to combat the opposing opinion holders without a single verbal exchange taking place. The average Joe can expel their desire to lash out at people without having to receive legitimate flack in return. 

People enjoy being angry, and people’s beliefs only get furthered when shouting into the echo chamber. Someone can lash out at a different ideology and get a million voices shouting alongside them. Social media makes us angry, and we cannot stop eating it up.

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Reach Brendan Henry at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BrendanHenryRMC.