A piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz shows the power of social media to help and to harm.

Headlined “NYT Editor Criticizes Trump, Spends Next 8 Hours Retweeting anti-Semitic Abuse,” the story recounts what happened to New York Times deputy bureau chief Jonathan Weisman Tweeted Thursday about anti-Semitism in the ranks of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

Predictably,  Weisman — himself a Jew — spent the rest of his day fending off a tsunami of anti-Semitic tweets from people who seemed intent on proving Weisman correct.

Setting aside the grotesque language and images that Weisman’s attackers threw at him, remember that instantaneous interconnectivity is our reality whether we live in Washington, Berlin or Abu Dhabi.

That adds uncertainty to all our digital communications because our audience is not just those we know and trust, but also those we do not know and who do not know us. So, think twice before sending forth into the Twitterverse, unless you want to spend the next eight hours defending yourself from all manner of nasty attacks.

The internet offers people anonymity and instantaneity. Neither is conducive to civility.


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