Last year I read an article by Joe Hildebrand on this very thing. It related to the rescue of the boy’s soccer team from the Thai cave but the premise applies more broadly than that. I still think about that article so I thought I’d share the concept with you.
If you aren’t familiar with the Babel fish, it comes from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (love the book, not the movie). If you stuck
the Babel fish in your ear, you were able to understand every single language ever spoken. In fact, the first online translator (by Yahoo) took the name Babel fish. While Adams’ Babel fish had miraculous powers, there was a catch:
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.
Apply that to us. We grew up knowing those who grew up around us – our family and the friends we chose, people we liked and those not so much (but we got used to them). And not many outside that circle. Then our Babel fish came along.
The web provides an easy, effortless, 24/7 place for people everywhere in the world to say whatever they like to each other and about each other. Instead of learning from each other and understanding that we’re not all that different from one another, it seems it’s become a cesspool of nastiness.
In Joe’s article he said something along the lines of people have spent so much time trying to work out how to communicate with each other they haven’t taken the time to think about whether they should.
I know not everyone uses social media in this way, and there are many positive, heartwarming stories shared every day. But it seems to me the dark, negative, hurtful side of the human race is more pronounced in cyberspace.
Maybe everyone needs to stop and think about the Babel fish before they post.