Dr. Meryln Griffiths, associate professor in the Bryan School of Business and Economics, was interviewed by WFMY News 2 about mean comments on social media.

Griffiths, who has been studying how people act and what they say online for more than 10 years, talked about the slippery slope when assessing online behavior.

“If you have a mean trait, then there’s a possibility that your mean trait becomes more enveloped depending on yourself. But I wouldn’t necessarily say social media is going to create a meaner you,” she explained.

Griffiths went on to say while we filter our language in face-to-face conversations, that’s usually not the case in our social media interactions.

“I don’t have to filter what I say. Why? Because I don’t know you,” Griffiths added. “The probability of you and I meeting face to face is slim to not-ever-going-to-happen. So, I don’t need to filter what I have to say to you. I can just be brash.”

Griffiths also said that while we can’t necessarily say that “mean” has the same meaning offline or online, platform of social media definitely plays a role in how people act in the digital world.

“It facilitates meanness, it allows us to be mean if we choose to be without any repercussions,” she said.