The great irony of the NPC meme is that it is surprisingly human. At its core, it describes the words and actions of individuals as the products of their environments. Whether its creators were aware of it or not, they were highlighting an aspect of the human experience which should be considered unanimous, for we are all subject – at least on occasion – to the power of social influence.
It is undeniable that people on social media tend to be a bit more…extreme. Some blame it on the oft-anonymous nature of the internet. Others believe the cult-like extremism to be nothing more than an unrepresentative vocal minority. And others still believe that the most outrageous posts simply garner the most attention. Maybe social media users fall into the same “if it bleeds it leads” trap as the news. All of this is true…in part. But there is something about social media that brings out this behavior in even the most sensible people—something that causes our calm, rational conduct to be replaced by a passionate, irrational, cult-like behavior...