The irony of the internet is that it embodies the advance of technology, but in many ways, the regression of humanity as well. Humanity is ever changing, but whether it is evolving or devolving remains to be seen. It stands to reason that the positive evolution of humanity would be toward tolerance and altruism, but what is actually taking place is far from that. The fragmentation that society is experiencing due to the conflicts that have arisen from internet culture and communication is staggering. Society has demonstrated that it places a higher value on separatism, personal comfort and self interest than it does on collectivism, social responsibility and unity. The ways that the fragmentation of society becomes clear through internet interactions are as follows:
- Separatism. Internet culture largely promotes separatism over tolerance. This is made clear in the online interactions that take place between internet users. Opinions within internet culture prefer a society where those who are different from us are kept a comfortable distance away from us. This can be seen in the hostility of exchanges between internet users.
- Personal comfort. Where an altruistic nature can only be demonstrated in the absence of comfort, internet culture highly esteems personal comfort. A majority of people accessing the internet are doing so from a location of great personal comfort, and communication through the internet and other digital media is decidedly the most preferred method of communication.
- Self interest. Human interactions that take place online are largely self serving. Where as in-person communication comes with an obligatory sense of respecting others, internet communication is preferred because it empowers the user to respect themselves instead of others. The element of empathy that is so necessary to a healthy society is lost on internet culture. Instead, the internet gives us compassion fatigue and we harden ourselves to others because of the access we have to the internet.