I’ve thought a lot about silos lately. This is a good definition of the online type. Silos are those communities that we find ourselves in online. We’ve replaced face-to-face civic engagement with online engagement. I’m not saying that’s all bad. I like some of the communities I’ve been able to find online. I like that I’m able to stay connected to a bunch of people I otherwise wouldn’t.
It’s just that it’s hard to discuss and have vigurous debate in a silo. As the article says, “It can be "social suicide" to criticize a silo from within the silo, while external criticism tends to bounce off, ignored.” You begin to think that you are always right, no matter what anyone else says. We like our ruts, thank you very much.
I’ve thought about that this past week. Pretty soon after the Orlando shooting, I saw a tweet from a high schooler in Marshall (I followed a bunch during my job as a sports reporter) saying something along the lines of, here we go again with all the anti-gun nuts, people kill people, not guns. This was less than 12 hours after the shooting in Orlando. That kind of scares me that that reaction happened so quickly.
And then there’s the backlash to prayer. I get that people are frustrated with, “thoughts and prayers.” I don’t know the faith habits of every single person who tweeted that, but I’m sure some of them were genuine, and I do believe they probably did other things to help. And props to Chick-fil-A for donating food. Of course, then you see the conservative backlash to the non-attention paid to this act by the “liberal media.” Jeesh, slow down. I’m sure Jesus was really hoping for some instagram shout-outs after the loaves and fishes.
While those silos can be fun places, it’s always fun to be around people who agree with you, they can also be seriously miserable places. On a much less serious note than Orlando, the NBA Finals community (specifically Warriors fans) was just a miserable, miserable crapheap after the game on Thursday. People were saying that it was rigged, and that the NBA wanted it to go to game seven. It’s hard for some people to accept the basic fact that one team played better than the other. We want our miserableness to be heard damnit! If we’re not happy, than no one can be.
That’s why I’m worried about this presidential election and things to come. It’s easy to get siloed with your presidential politics and dig your heels in. I’m especially scared about Trump. I’m not saying Hillary is the greatest choice or anything, but I think Trump’s idea, mannerisms, and the general way he conducts himself would be dangerous to the country if he got the nuclear codes.
This has rambled on more than I planned, but my general feeling is this. Allow for some compassion in your daily life, think about what you want to post online for 10 minutes, and if it still seems reasonable after that, then go ahead. Things are always more complex than you think, and people can always surprise you.