I blame Twitter.

Years after I strolled across the stage at my high school graduation free from the soul-crushing pressure of cliques, it seems like times haven’t changed as much as I’d hoped.

I should have known. Whenever groups of people share the same space, someone is bound to be left on the outside. But cliques are so high school, right?

As grown ups we are too mature, too cultured, too full of confidence to succumb to the pressure of rolling with a superficial crew—or so we thought—until one day you realize you’re right back where you started from.

People are social creatures. We thrive on interaction with others, and for the most part, we gravitate toward those of like mind and temperament. Sure, loners exist, but even they tend to clique up and be “alone” together, so it makes sense. Our attraction to others like us. But more and more people have become increasingly mean (or perhaps increasingly public with their meanness), and it’s got me wondering what the hell is really going on.

#teamlightskin and #teamdarkskin are just the latest examples of how trying to belong to the cool kids club can go really wrong. Although a lot of people participating in the hashtags were just riding for their respective complexions and saying funny things like, “I know I’m not the only one with a red nose and ears,” others used the hashtags to poke fun of and continue perpetrating divisive behaviors among Black folk.

But it’s not just issues of skin color that have divided people along artificial lines, the Internet, and Twitter especially, lends itself to a special kind of clique, the twitterati.

The twitterati are composed of popular tweeters (or bloggers) and those who love them. I confess, I follow a pretty dope crop of people on Twitter. The conversations I’ve had with many of them have been nothing short of amazing. But I’ve also seen what happens when say, a popular blogger or tweeter, gets a comment they find out of pocket. In one short tweet, a whole slew of their followers will gang up on the (sometimes) unsuspecting commenter and they’ll become the butt of many, many @ reply jokes. No bueno.

Whenever I see someone ‘going in’ on a person they’ve never seen or even know personally, I always wonder….is the Internet turning us all into mean girls (and boys), or is our innate nastiness just now coming to light.

What say you, Clutchettes and Gents?

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  • Monique

    “…is the Internet turning us all into mean girls (and boys), or is our innate nastiness just now coming to light?”

    Neither. The Internet is just another place for cowards and bullies to inject their foolishness – except they don’t have to be seen. If you were to meet these people in person, good chance their meanness and nastiness would shine through real quick. It wouldn’t take a social network for it to come to light.

    I can’t imagine someone who has a generally even temperament and good manners all of a sudden become a jerk online.

    • Preach!!

    • The internet doesn’t have the ability to “transform”. You are what you are…and you’re that in real space, or online. You can clown on a grander scale, when the anonymity of cyberspace protects you. When you don’t have to worry about gettin’ your teeth knocked out/limbs shot off, you can tweet smack all day/nite long.

      It’s just like when people say, “Money changes people”. No it doesn’t, it just brings out what was already there. Money allows you to be bigger “jerk”, than you would be with no money.

  • EmpressDivine

    Almost everyday I find another reason NOT to join twitter. I’m following Zettler’s advice and not eating the oatmeal.

  • bb

    Thank God I chose to delete my Facebook account months ago, and have never been on Twitter (don’t ever plan on joining). I don’t mind being “behind” this new technology of social networks. My actions have saved me from things like the “twitterati”, and awkward situations.( i.e. unwanted friend requests on Facebook from people that I never want to see or hear from again (…..or even talked to much in real life, what’s up with that?) In this sense I’ve become anonymous to the world. The only way one can see me is if we happen to be at the same place in a given moment (or scheduled to meet), and the only way one can contact me is through my cellphone. You won’t be able to find out all of my business on the internet :-) …..and that’s just the way I like it.

    • bb

      This is a sure way to know who your true friends are. I find that many people are disillusioned, believing that they have many friendships because of the 1000 “friends” they have on Facebook. How many of them do you really talk to on a daily basis, or even meet up with??

  • sunshyne84

    It is pretty pathetic when people gang up on others on twitter, but then again i’ve always been a loner. I just don’t get folks who thrive off of drama.

  • oknow..

    hiding behind your phone, and computer is what it is..