Impoverished Emotional Lives
From another angle, I'm tempted by a different proposition: Maybe it is actually the case that our emotional lives are impoverished. "Twitter says 'feel this,' we say 'how intensely?' Social media never invites us to step away, to think and reflect, to remain silent, to refuse a response for now or may be indefinitely." That still seems basically right to me, but I don't think I adequately accounted for the quality of the emotional experience. The policing of other's emotional expressions is one sign that the discourse is colonizing our emotional life. Such policing tends to generate an artificiality of emotional expression, and conditions us to avoid certain emotional expressions. Complex or subtle emotional experiences are overwhelmed by the demand for intense and uncomplicated emotional expressions. The gist of the above is that our emotional lives tend to be impoverished in an online context. This happens because the temporal rhythms of digital media are inhospitable to achieving a depth of emotional experience and because our emotional expressions are conditioned into a relatively narrow range.