Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had the equally exciting and terrifying experience of meeting my significant other’s parents for the first time. While these emotions are typical for this type of encounter, mine were compounded by the fact that I had been forewarned his dad and I were not on the same end of the political spectrum. Thankfully things did not descend into clashing chaos due in part to a shared interest: digital media.
During the course of the visit we discussed various technology related topics. We debated the pros and cons of GitHub. He shared coding projects he had done for his job and I talked about the scripting languages I had been learning. We also shared stories about interesting things that have been found commented into scripts (let’s just say it’s important to remove profanities in final versions of all work-related writing, whether that it be written in English or C+). It was not just code related topics that served as common ground. Both my significant other, his dad, his brother, and myself are gamers, so we all had a chuckle when I made a joke about their hometown being their a “spawn point”.
This whole experience made me reflect upon a part of digital culture that I feel is currently underutilized: it’s unbiased nature. Take discussing coding for example. Just like how not all people have the same writing “voice”, everyone’s coding style is a little different. Unlike in literary writing, a person’s technical writing style does not give an indication as to their political leanings (unless they explicitly typed something like “MAGA” in the comments or were designing a politically biased program). The politically neutral nature of coding means it lends itself well to civilly bringing together people of differing ideologies. Granted, this revelation is unlikely to salvage the toxic political environment the United States currently finds itself in. Yet as our society becomes more technology focused and interest grows in the field of digital media, perhaps using this shared passion to find common ground amongst animosity can become more widely employed.