I had a sort of epiphany last night. While mulling over the ideas that I often blog about I stumbled down a tangent relating to radical transparency. Technarians in this day and age love to point out that the Internet and social media naturally entail more accountability and transparency.
What then is entailed culturally by such radical transparency? I imagine a great amount of dirty laundry set out in plain sight. In such an environment we all receive the same scrutiny that is traditionally reserved for our politicians, and civil servants.
Now this new level of knowledge summarily entails a decision by the learning party. What do you do with that knowledge? This lesson is portrayed in a classic comic series, somehow seemingly overlooked or ignored by the self-same geek audience on the Internet. With new found power we find ourselves in a position of new responsability. Thus, the learning party can take one of two very fundamentally different positions either empathy, or scorn.
Scorn is the easiest path and it is also the one that is most apparent on the Internet. There is no shortage of snark, vitriol, or anger on the Internet, In fact it seems that such path is the norm, and it is expected.
Empathy is the true high road that no one takes. Such a path becomes radical when we are forced to engage it even as we feel the force of our own ego demanding a defense of its face. Both website owners, moderators and commenters can improve upon this path, and we all should practice it more while online.
Just because we can hold our neighbor accountable for their character flaws, and admitted mistakes doesn't mean we should, or that doing so is good for society as a whole. Everyone who engages with contextually vapid communications like the Internet should practice radical empathy as a default and be very mindful of how and when they make use of their scorn.