[B]efore we do or say anything online, before we retweet unconfirmed details about the latest gun-related tragedy, before we post a shrill, sensationalist article to Facebook, before we furiously peck out our own hot take, we have to ask ourselves: Does this have the potential to make someone’s day worse? Someone’s life worse? If the answer is maybe, back away from the computer. Go outside and look at a tree. And remind yourself: Everyone you encounter on the internet is a person.
— Whitney Phillips – “We’re the reason we can’t have nice things on the internet”
There’s so many great things to pull from this pice, but the above is probably the biggest one. We’re so disconnected from each other’s genuine feelings by the nature of the Internet as a medium. Taking the first step, asking the questions “Does this have the potential to make someone’s day worse? Someone’s life worse?” is a small step towards bridging the empathy gap online. We may be the reason we can’t have nice things on the Internet. We also can be the catalyst to change that, even in some small way.