Jennifer Bristol recently lost one of her oldest friends—thanks to a
Facebook fight about pit bulls.
The trouble started when she posted a newspaper article asserting that pit
bulls were the most dangerous type of dog in New York City last year. "
Please share thoughts… 833 incidents with pitties," wrote Ms. Bristol, a 40
-year-old publicist and animal-welfare advocate in Manhattan.
A recent study looks at rates of overweight and credit-card debt among heavy
users of Facebook and concludes this group tends to have less impulse
control. Elizabeth Bernstein has details on The News Hub. (Photo: Agence
Her friends, many of whom also work in the animal-welfare world, quickly
weighed in. One noted that "pit bull" isn't a single official breed; another
said "irresponsible ownership" is often involved when dogs turn violent.
Black Labs may actually bite more, someone else offered.
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Elizabeth Bernstein spoke with readers on October 2 about abominable online
Then a childhood pal of Ms. Bristol piped up with this: "Take it from an ER
doctor… In 15 years of doing this I have yet to see a golden retriever bite
that had to go to the operating room or killed its target."
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That unleashed a torrent. One person demanded to see the doctor's "
scientific research." Another accused him of not bothering to confirm
whether his patients were actually bitten by pit bulls. Someone else
suggested he should "venture out of the ER" to see what was really going on.
"It was ridiculous," says Ms. Bristol, who stayed out of the fight. Her old
buddy, the ER doctor, unfriended her the next morning. That was eight months
ago. She hasn't heard from him since.
Why are we so nasty to each other online? Whether on Facebook, Twitter,
message boards or websites, we say things to each other that we would never
say face to face. Shouldn't we know better by now?
Anonymity is a powerful force. Hiding behind a fake screen name makes us
feel invincible, as well as invisible. Never mind that, on many websites, we
're not as anonymous as we think—and we're not anonymous at all on Facebook
. Even when we reveal our real identities, we still misbehave.
According to soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia
University and the University of Pittsburgh, browsing Facebook lowers our
self control. The effect is most pronounced with people whose Facebook
networks were made up of close friends, the researchers say.
Most of us present an enhanced image of ourselves on Facebook. This positive
image—and the encouragement we get, in the form of "likes"—boosts our
self-esteem. And when we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit
"Think of it as a licensing effect: You feel good about yourself so you feel
a sense of entitlement," says Keith Wilcox, assistant professor of
marketing at Columbia Business School and co-author of the study. "And you
want to protect that enhanced view, which might be why people are lashing
out so strongly at others who don't share their opinions." These types of
behavior—poor self control, inflated sense of self—"are often displayed by
people impaired by alcohol," he adds.
The researchers conducted a series of five studies. In one, they asked 541
Facebook users how much time they spent on the site and how many close
friends they had in their Facebook networks. They also asked about their
offline lives, including questions about their debt and credit-card usage,
their weight and eating habits and how much time they spent socializing in
person each week.
People who spent more time online and who had a high percentage of close
ties in their network were more likely to engage in binge eating and to have
a greater body mass index, as well as to have more credit-card debt and a
lower credit score, the research found. Another study found that people who
browsed Facebook for five minutes and had strong network ties were more
likely to choose a chocolate-chip cookie than a granola bar as a snack.
In a third study, the professors gave participants a set of anagrams that
were impossible to solve, as well as timed IQ tests, then measured how long
it took them to give up trying to solve the problems. They found people who
spent more time on Facebook were more likely to give up on difficult tasks
more quickly. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.
Why are we often so aggressive online? Consider this recent post to this
column's Facebook page, from someone I don't know: "Why should I even bother
writing you? You won't respond."
We're less inhibited online because we don't have to see the reaction of the
person we're addressing, says Sherry Turkle, psychologist and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology professor of the social studies of science and
technology. Because it's harder to see and focus on what we have in common,
we tend to dehumanize each other, she says.
Astoundingly, Dr. Turkle says, many people still forget that they're
speaking out loud when they communicate online. Especially when posting from
a smartphone, "you are publishing but you don't feel like you are," she
says. "So what if you say 'I hate you' on this tiny little thing? It's like
a toy. It doesn't feel consequential."
And for Facebook, its very name is part of the problem. "It promises us a
face and a place where we are going to have friends," says Dr. Turkle,
author of the book "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and
Less from Each Other." "If you get something hurtful there, you're not
prepared. You feel doubly affronted, so you strike back."
It's high season for online bickering about politics, as Chip Bolcik well
knows. Mr. Bolcik, 54, a TV announcer and registered Independent from
Thousand Oaks, Calif., likes to pose political questions on his Facebook
page. "I am very interested in how people think who have different views
than mine," he says. "And sometimes I will write a provocative question for
the entertainment purpose of watching people yell at each other."
Over the past few months, Mr. Bolcik lost two real-life friends because of
online political spats. The first friend got mad at him after he posted a
status update asking people to debate whether Mormons are Christians. ("You
are so off base you don't know what you are talking about," she wrote on his
page, followed later by: "You're an idiot.") Mr. Bolcik blocked her from
his page. "I will allow free discussion until you irritate me," he says.
Sometimes, he erases entire conversation threads.
The second friendship ended even more abruptly, after one of Mr. Bolcik's
old friends offended several of his Facebook friends, as well as Mr. Bolcik
himself, by repeatedly posting his views. "He was spouting about politics,
rather than discussing," Mr. Bolcik says. Mr. Bolcik wrote his friend and
told him he was going to block him from the page if he didn't pipe down. In
response, his friend told him off using vulgar language and unfriended him.
"I was pretty upset," Mr. Bolcik says.
Still, he sometimes can't restrain himself from fanning the flames. When a
political discussion thread becomes heated and he doesn't like the way it is
going—"right or left," he says—he privately messages one of his "attack
dog" friends and suggests he or she join the discussion. "I will say, 'Gee,
this discussion doesn't seem right to me, what do you think?' " he says. "
Then they will go on there and berate the person who is upsetting me, and I
will look like the good guy."
Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at B***[email protected]
3结论就是coz it's online
【在 s****m 的大作中提到】