24 January 2014

Check Your Attitude At The Submit Button

Online Interactions

I often enjoy watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and listening to podcasts on a variety of different subjects. As a part of that experience, I will often take some time and browse through some of the comments left by other web surfers.
It is not uncommon for me to come across postings that are very sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. It is actually really sad.

Now I will admit that for the most part - I lurk. I read the extremely hateful and even profane remarks as the participants in the verbal volley both accuse the other of being intolerant. I do not join the fray very often.

Have you ever said, did, or wrote something and had someone pounce on you online?

Eaaasy kitty - goooood kitty - Stags won't hurt you...
Making An Impression

Well, I suppose, when people are online it is a bit easier to hide behind a pseudonym or an alternate picture. Perhaps folks just feel safer online where they can maintain a certain level of anonymity.

I am not so sure that makes it a good idea to be rude and insulting online towards other people.

Your speech says a lot about you and it also says a lot about what you believe. In fact, whether you like it or not, your speech also says a lot about your activities in an indirect sort of way. Let me expand on that a little.

Let's suppose you decide to engage someone online who holds a different stance on an issue than you do. The issue could be anything - politics, religion, moral issues, or sports. If you lash out at them in a forum by calling them stupid or intolerant, ridiculous or foolish, a failure or an idiot - pick any name or insult you like - you may be inadvertantly contributing to a stereotype against the group with which you align. For example, if the issue is a religious one and you identify yourself as a Christian and proceed to open up that good ol' 55 gallon drum on them - you represent the Christian faith in a negative light. Of course, the problem here is that as Christians, we are called to love others just as Christ loved us.

Let's just leave this closed...

A Call For Rational Discourse

I think it would be a great thing for folks to slow down and consider words carefully. Are you speaking in defense of your favorite sports team? That's OK - so is the other person. Resist the urge to use hurtful language and use good reasoning in your discussion. It is fun to tell some good rivalry jokes about the other team but there is no need to make things personal. Keep it fun.
Are you defending a stance like Pro-Life or Pro-Choice or something like that? Well that's OK too. Just make sure that you respond to the arguments and not to the person. Refute the reasonings - don't insult the other person - that won't get you anywhere.

So can we keep the discourse rational and keep it from getting emotionally charged and out of control?
Perhaps we could learn something from one another...

Keep it civil - make friends, not enemies

Have an awesome day!

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