Social media has ushered in great changes to the world. From communication to connection, the various media have opened up and brought together many people. An embarrassment of riches in both content and comment. And sometimes, just plain embarrassment. Not because of what is said, but because of the way it is said.
Before I get into what this post is about, let me inform you what it is not about:
I find this sort of language sloppy and unhelpful. But I also know that its use has become so common, many people simply have it ingrained in their vernacular. So be it. I simply hope they’ll use more discretion around me.
I’ve already waxed on about the difference between “allowed” opinions and “entitled” opinions. I don’t need to rehash it here. You can read some of them from the link off to the right.
Suffice to say, one of the things to be most celebrated about America is the freedom of choice and freedom of speech.
It’s America. Even opinions we don’t agree with are allowed. End of story.
This is a despicable behavior, perpetrated by both the named and the anonymous. But I’ve also said my piece on this, so I’m not going back into it here. Just, don’t.
Take action if you see someone doing it. Call out the behavior and defend anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Even if the person is on the opposite side of your argument. Nothing should warrant bullying.
So, that’s a lot of “not” stuff. What’s left to go over? Well, all of the above are stuff that is said on social media. My point today is on the way it is said.
The freedom of social media is not limited to the anonymous. Plenty of people are more than willing to put their names to their views. Then they make those views known by commenting on the internet.
Perhaps it’s an initial post. It could also be a comment on a post. Or it might be a discussion on an article or a website.
Whatever the cause, the result is people putting forth their views. And that’s when the trouble occurs.
Many (yes, more than “some”) comments are written in such a way that it is tough to tell why the person posted it.
Sometimes the comment appears confused. Sometimes it appears uninformed. Other times it is written so badly (grammar, structure or just clarity) that the poster seems to be…well, rash, to not have taken a few more seconds to reconsider (or simply proofread).
Of course, the internet is merciless. Instantly, the poor post is pounced on and the poster is either ridiculed or abused. This often makes the original post and its intention moot.
Many comments are done in haste on social media. Fueled by strong emotions, the poster probably gets tangible satisfaction from hitting the “return”, “post” or “send” button.
But, gosh, that tends to lead to a lot of nearly unreadable comments. I know I’m trained by my work history to consider carefully (and proofread) everything I post online, but certainly most people could afford another few seconds to check themselves.
It’s possible there isn’t a lot of self-evaluation that goes on in social media comments. Likely the poster who gets pummeled after an undecipherable comment thinks that it’s everyone else who is stupid.
By the way, I’m not just talking politics here. Nor am I solely limiting this to Facebook and Twitter. It’s everywhere. Sports sites. News sites. Even entertainment sites. Basically, anywhere someone can leave a comment on the web.
The comment may be valid or it may be vapid, but it should at least be understandable. Too often the case is not what is being said but the way it is said.