Social media has polarised society. We’ve never had such a glorious opportunity to engage with people we fundamentally disagree with. It makes for good business from maximising advertising revenue by constantly drip-feeding outrage and discontent to as large an addicted-to-social-media population as possible.
The same discontent happens in what should be the most sedate and reflective parts of social media, such as groups set up to appreciate wildlife. Simply posting a photograph of a bird, such as a Sparrowhawk, brings out all the trolls from under the internet’s many, many bridges. Here’s a single, simple, social media post which the poor enthusiast had to edit and amend after the reaction to it:
Julia’s image was fabulous and I would have be delighted to have witnessed it and thrilled to have taken it. She had to go back, edit her original post and turn off commenting. The responses were ridiculous:
I think it’s humans which are overpopulated. I think it’s unnatural for humans to live in cities. And the ‘childrens (sic) pet’ comment is unsubstantiated sentimentality. Oh, and it’s more frequently men who are making vile comments about women and their posts.
You can see the aggravation start. Facebook groups bringing communities together? Bringing a crowd to a fight and selling them advertising like popcorn, more like.
Here’s a typical example of the attitude to Sparrowhawks, with amusing spelling:
British Bird Lovers? I don’t think so. Only the fluffy ones, like pets, which eat seeds are acceptable. There are frequent extravagant, unsubstantiated claims and blame in the responses:
Much of the aggravation seems to come from people with a political axe to grind. Gamekeepers, landowners, hunters and country-dwellers coalesce into a seething mass or hatred of any wildlife which might impact on their inalienable right to do whatever they please with their land.
Many of the ensuing comments reference lions or gazelles or vegans and bacon sandwiches:
Humans have destroyed most of the natural world and killed half of it in my lifetime. Let’s blame one of the remaining wonders for it, though, shall we? Here’s a Song Thrush’s nest destroyed by commercial activity, not by a Sparrowhawk:
Voices of reason get trampled underfoot by the pile-on of the mob:
I agree with Eddie Wren. I just can’t help feeling he’s wasting his breath. As am I.