Once in a while something interesting floats by

Somebody the other day likened social media to an open sewer. ‘Sometimes something interesting floats by,’ he said, or words to that effect. ‘But the bad smell is still there.’

That’s being a bit harsh. If you look at all the stuff on a certain local discussion forum, objectively, it probably shakes out something more like this: 80 per cent mundane, 10 per cent out of the ordinary on the positive side and a similar percentage out of the ordinary on the negative, or nasty, side.

The negative stuff stands out and sticks in the memory, because some of it is so surprising and even shocking. Or downright disturbing. Not surprising, probably, in that such attitudes exist. We already know they exist from watching the weird stuff that comes to us on the TV news. What’s surprising and unsettling is to find racist (for example) sentiments showing up in the posts of ‘friends’ you thought you knew. It turns out you didn’t know them.

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