Essays on Technology and Culture

Empathy Boot Camp

“When you learn to write you are taught that a deep understanding of your audience is essential to effective communication. On the internet, though, you are often shouting to your intended listeners as they stand in a thick, noisy crowd. You may be appealing directly to their interests and ambitions, but if their neighbor disagrees, you could still face pushback, complaints or even abuse. The potential for criticism from unexpected parties is, on the whole, positive – a boot camp in radical empathy, one that makes it ever more difficult to hide behind provincialism as an excuse for insensitivity. But for many, it’s disorienting.”

— Can the internet actually be an empathy boot camp? – Jess Zimmerman

The first step towards empathy is to slow down and think before you hit post. We’re all still figuring out how to live in a world where everyone has megaphones, but Jess is pointing towards a good way to manage it.