By Jack Ritt
I am a firm believer that there is good in everyone, and that yes, people are going to make mistakes and speak or act out of place without considering the consequences that follow their actions. I think we are guilty of this at some point or another in our lives, which is normal, and you could label it as “being human.” Unfortunately, with the rise and innovations in technology, specifically in social media, it seems more and more people are falling victim to speaking or acting without accounting for the consequences that will follow. I think we can subscribe to this trend to the rise of social media and how it has transformed and become a staple in almost every individual’s everyday life.
Social media has provided us with lots of beneficial attributes, some of them including the instant spreading and sharing of news, faster and easier communication, networking, organic visibility, branding and many more. As it changed our lives in many positive ways, it has also adversely affected our lives in a very negative manner. Due to social media, we’ve seen the emergence of a new type of threat to our autonomy, which we call ‘Mob Mentality.’ The mob mentality is the idea that people group up and attack the minority opinion or any opinion that differs from that of the mass population. The concept isn’t new to humans, but how it occurs is where the issue resides.
Mobs rise out of people who have similar ideas and thoughts group up and target those who have different opinions, but it’s shocking how easy it is for these groups of people to form. In a study conducted by The University of Leeds, they found that it only takes five percent of a group to influence the other 95 percent. This is scary and dangerous because it shows it doesn’t take much at all to influence the mass population and alter people’s ability to think for themselves critically. This is incredibly dangerous because many people who get affected by the mob don’t realize it, because, at the core, everyone wants to be accepted by the majority, leading to a halt in the public’s ability to produce original thoughts and have varying opinions.
Additionally, the mob mentality affects and is taking away our autonomy to an extent. Not only does it influence how people think on a mass scale, by the nature of the internet and social media has caused a drop in people’s ability to think critically. The internet is so fast, and the conversation can change so quickly, people are quick to respond when prompted to, leading people to act in a way they probably wouldn’t if they took the time to sit back and think about the conversation and what they’re about to say. What further drives people’s inability to think critically why online is most individuals have the power of anonymity while having an online presence. This leads to people posting and saying vulgar and inexcusable things because they won’t ever be associated or held responsible for their actions.
The modern mob mentality isn’t something we should take lightly, as it has already changed the way we act and go about our daily lives. If we’re not careful about how we handle the new mob, we are going to have an increasingly difficult time progressing as a society when the same few thoughts and ideas circulate the public.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If everyone thinks alike, then no one is thinking.”