The Internet is what you make of it, obviously. And there are aspiring writers who use digital technology to read and research and seek the counsel of their peers. But the Internet has also been a great aggregator of anxiety and an enabler of our worst tendencies. It has allowed us to trumpet our own opinions, to win attention by broadcasting our laziest and cruelest judgments, to grind axes in public. It has made us feel, in some perverse sense, that we are entitled to do so.
Steve Almond’s post on the culture of entitlement is really worth considering. Almond relates the culture of entitlement to the rise of consumer culture – the ‘customer is always right’ frame of mind. the impact of this, he suggests, is that we’re too ready to dismiss creative endeavour without giving it the consideration it requires. How many times have you (or I) visited a theatre, cinema, read a book or viewed an art exhibition and come away full of entitled dismissal? Almond is even more concerned about those who dismiss without even viewing/engaging with the work. I think there’s a lesson here for all of us. Even if we don’t ‘like’ what someone creates we probably need to spend more time appreciating the effort that went in to it…that means taking some time for refection and drawing on empathy….organisations might be even more interesting to work in if those metrics were applied more regularly?