Eternal September refers to when the Internet became open to everyone to participate on (1993). Our communications capability has grown at an amazing rate since then. I marvel daily at all the things that are possible, just 20 years later, thanks to the Internet. At the same time, I cringe at the ugliness that the Internet has created in humans that was not previously possible.
There was a study, the link escapes me, that shows that the Internet allows like minded people to essentially isolate themselves from different points of view. A different study showed that people who discuss things that upset them with others end up becoming more upset. The combination of these two factors result in people who are very angry and whose anger is reinforced by their isolated communities.
I purposely try to spend time on other communities – particularly ones where I don’t have any moderation power. The Stardock and Neowin communities are very active, rich and fun places. But I make a point not to focus all my attention there because I don’t want to be lulled into a false sense that my opinions equate to some sort of universal truth.
But most people (i.e. normal people) don’t have the time to spread their activity across multiple Internet communities. The predictable result is that people are having their opinions reinforced by like minded participants and are increasing angry at those who don’t share their world views.
The problem I run into, one that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago, is that people mistake their opinions as “truth”. And it’s getting worse with no end in sight.
It does not bode well for the future.