Tuesday, July 11, 2017

AP -- Bad behavior is trending online, inspiring it in real life

President Donald Trump became President of the United States to a large extent because of his bad behavior. It’s the stuff that drives print and digital media popularity and therein page views, ratings and sales. As executive producer and former host of The Apprentice -- like all the reality shows I’ve seen, the show relies heavily on humiliation and the put-down -- Trump knows the value of promotion and name recognition derived from bad behavior.

Bad behavior, a president who knows how and does use it to his benefit, a culture that embraces it, and the propagation of guns in our society all add up to a disrespectful, dangerous and violent country, and one that is never at peace with itself.   

Here are AP’s Sandy Cohen opening paragraphs of the effects of bad behavior:

Young children know that name-calling is wrong. Tweens are taught the perils of online bullying and revenge porn: It's unacceptable and potentially illegal.

But celebrities who engage in flagrant attacks on social media are rewarded with worldwide attention. President Donald Trump's most popular tweet to date is a video that shows him fake-pummeling a personification of CNN. Reality TV star Rob Kardashian was trending last week after attacking his former fiancée on Instagram in a flurry of posts so explicit his account was shut down. He continued the attacks on Twitter, where he has more than 7.6 million followers.

While public interest in bad behavior is nothing new, social media has created a vast new venue for incivility to be expressed, witnessed and shared. And experts say it's affecting social interactions in real life.

She ends her piece with an important message:

“Cruel and humiliating posts often become ‘an instant hit online,’ Catherine Steiner-Adair, a psychologist and author of "The Big Disconnect said. ‘It's one of the best ways to become popular.’

“Viral posts then get mainstream media attention, spreading digital nastiness into everyday conversation.

“By not expressly rejecting cruel or hateful online behavior, ‘we are creating a bystander culture where people think this is funny.’

"’When we tolerate leaders — in the popular media like a Kardashian, or a president — behaving in this way, we are creating a very dangerous petri dish for massive cultural change.”

“Young people, who may be the most plugged in, are getting mixed messages as they form their moral concepts.

"’It behooves us all to question why we are participating in this mob of reactivity, and what are the character traits we need to model for our children.’"

By Sandy Cohen