30 Days of Love: 2/30
It used to seem that civil discourse was a matter of course, and one of the reasons for this was that before the era of the Internet most of the time when someone spoke it was to another living breathing person. Internet and communications technology has made it much easier for voices to be heard at the same time it has made it less costly to immediately say whatever comes to mind in response. We have witnessed the proliferation of disembodied voices spread through our culture and we have participated in allowing the quality and civility of what is said decline. The problem is not the quality (or lack thereof) of content – it is the lack of civility and humanity in the use of language to express the content. At the end of 2011 there were more than 180 million active blogs around the world(1), and the average American household received more than 118 TV Channels (2). As of August, 2011 78% of American adults use the Internet (3), 99% of American households have at least one television (4). So much media and such great access to it can be greatly empowering – we see, read and hear many more people voicing their opinion and support causes than was possible before. But it has also been an excuse to reduce the civility of public discourse – and that should not be allowed to stand.